Mastermind behind Paris attacks identified, 168 raids carried out overnight

Mastermind behind Paris attacks identified, 168 raids carried out overnight

Authorities believe they have discovered the mastermind behind the Paris attacks, naming Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud as the key suspect.

The 27-year-old is thought to be from Brussels, which was home to other members of the militant Islamist cell, that carried out Friday’s massacre.

Abaaoud has also been linked to a foiled attack on a train earlier this year, where and American soldier was injured.

He has also been linked to a separate attack on a church.

He also uses the name Abu Omar Al Baljiki and is of Moroccan origin, currently believed to be in Syria.

In February of this year, Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq carried an interview with an Islamist bearing that name and boasting of having traveled through Europe unnoticed by security forces to organise attacks and procure weapons.

Abaaoud was also named in various media last year as the elder brother of a 13-year-old boy who left Belgium to become a child-fighter in Syria.

MORE THAN 150 RAIDS CONDUCTED

Police raided homes of suspected Islamist militants across France overnight following Friday’s Paris attacks.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters police had arrested 23 people and seized arms, including a rocket launcher and automatic weapons, in 168 raids overnight.

Another 104 people were put under house arrest, he said.

“Let this be clear to everyone, this is just the beginning, these actions are going to continue,” Mr Cazeneuve said.

Meanwhile dozens of Belgian police and armed commandos surrounded houses in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, which is home to many Muslim immigrants.

Police arrested seven suspects in Brussels over the weekend, five of whom have been released, and are hunting Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old Frenchman based in the Belgian capital, who is one of three brothers believed to have been involved in the plot.

FRENCH PRESIDENT CALLS FOR ACTION FROM PARLIAMENT

French President Francois Hollande called on the United States and Russia to join a global coalition to destroy Islamic State in the wake of the attacks across Paris, and announced a wave of measures to combat terror in France.

“France is at war,” President Hollande told a joint session of parliament at the Palace of Versailles, promising to increase funds for national security and strengthen anti-terror laws in response to the suicide bombings and shootings that killed 129.

“We’re not engaged in a war of civilisations, because these assassins do not represent any. We are in a war against jihadist terrorism which is threatening the whole world,” he said.

Among the proposed changes is for France to amend the constitution and extend the state of emergency for the next three months.

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Amy Whittaker
Amy Whittaker 1402 posts

Amy joined the NRN team in August 2011, before graduating from a B of Arts (Communication-Journalism)/B of Sports Studies from Charles Sturt University in December 2011.

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