France ‘at war’ against ‘Islamic State’

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November 18, 2015

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said telephone surveillance and witness statements had led police to believe that Belgian jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud was in an apartment in Saint-Denis in northern Paris.

November 18, 2015

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said telephone surveillance and witness statements had led police to believe that Belgian jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud was in an apartment in Saint-Denis in northern Paris.

Anti-terrorist police had flooded the streets near the building and soldiers were also drafted in for an operation that lasted around seven hours that left two people dead, including a woman who police say blew herself up.

But it's still unclear whether Abaaoud was among those killed or captured by French commandos.

"As things stand, it is impossible to give you the identities of the people detained, which are being verified," Molins said. "All will be done to determine who is who, and based on the work of forensic police, we'll tell you who was in the apartment – and what consequences it will have for the development of the investigation."

French President Francois Hollande praised the country's security services and said that France was "at war" with the Islamic State group which has claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks that killed at least 129 people.

"It is the entire country that's been attacked," Hollande told a gathering of French mayors. "For what it represents, the fight we are leading to eradicate terrorism. And simply for what we are."

In his televised remarks, Hollande urged the nation not to "give in to fear" or extremist sentiments.

"No anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim act can be tolerated," Hollande said.

State of emergency for three months?

The president's remarks come the same day as a bill to extend France's state of emergency powers for three months is being considered by the cabinet.

Hollande had declared a state of emergency for 12 days following Friday night's deadly attacks, and parliament must approve extending it. If passed by the cabinet, it could move its way through both legislative houses by the end of the week.

The state of emergency increases police powers of search and arrest and limits public gatherings, including houses of worship including mosques.

This comes the same day as the European Commission considers a bloc-wide ban on certain semi-automatic firearms and standardize markings across the European Union.

"Organized criminals accessing and trading military grade firearms in Europe cannot and will not be tolerated," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.


Courtesy: DW

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