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EU says continues Mideast peace part in spite of Israel move

BRUSSELS EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and the European Union said it would continue its role in Middle East peace diplomacy in spite of Israel saying it was suspending make contact with.

Asked about Israel’s move on Sunday to suspend contact with the EU over the bloc’s reinforcement of labeling guidelines on imports from Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a European Commission spokeswoman said Mogherini met Netanyahu in Paris on the sidelines of the global climate conference.

“EU-Israel relations are very good, broad and deep and this will continue,” the spokeswoman told a news briefing in Brussels, playing down the labeling decision as merely the implementation of an current policy currently being enforced by some EU states.

“When it comes to the Middle East peace process, the EU continues and will continue to perform on this in the Quartet with our partners with both parties because of course peace in the Middle East is of interest to the entire international community,” the spokesman added.

The European Union is one of the 4 members of the Quartet of peace brokers, along with the United Nations, United States and Russia.

(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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U.S. concerns international travel alert as manhunt continues for Paris attackers

WASHINGTON/PARIS Citing “elevated terrorist threats” from militant groups in various regions of the world, the U.S. State Division issued a international travel alert on Monday following deadly militant attacks in France and Mali.

As millions of Americans prepare to travel for the U.S. Thanksgiving vacation on Thursday, the agency stated prospective attackers could target private or government interests.

“Existing info suggests that (Islamic State), al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to strategy terrorist attacks in numerous regions,” the State Division said in a warning posted on its website.

Although it did not mention the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State group in which 130 died, the division noted that militants had carried out attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali during the past year.

    “Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of (Islamic State) return from Syria and Iraq,” it said. “Furthermore, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons organizing attacks inspired by main terrorist organizations but conducted on an person basis.

France and Belgium have launched a manhunt following the attacks in Paris, with a focus on Brussels barkeeper Salah Abdeslam, 26, who returned to the city from Paris hours soon after the attacks and is nonetheless at large.

Abdeslam’s mobile telephone was detected soon after the attacks in the 18th district in the north of Paris, near an abandoned auto that he had rented, and then later in Chatillon in the south, a supply close to the investigation stated.

Detectives had been examining what appeared to be an explosive belt identified in a litter bin in the town of Montrouge, south of the capital and not far from Chatillon.

The source mentioned it was also quickly to say no matter whether the belt had been in get in touch with with Abdeslam, whose elder brother blew himself for the duration of the gun and suicide bomb attacks.

1 theory was that Abdeslam had intended to blow himself up in the 18th district but had abandoned the strategy, although it was not clear why.

“Possibly he had a technical problem with his explosive belt,” a police supply stated.

Fearing an imminent threat of a Paris-style attack, Belgium extended a maximum safety alert in Brussels for a week but mentioned the metro system and schools could reopen on Wednesday.

“We are nevertheless confronted with the threat we had been facing yesterday,” Prime Minister Charles Michel mentioned. Possible targets remained buying regions and public transport.

Belgium has been at the heart of investigations into the Paris attacks given that French law enforcement bodies stated two of the suicide bombers had lived there. Three individuals have been charged in Belgium with terrorist offences, which includes two who traveled back with Abdeslam from Brussels.

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As authorities attempted to establish Abdeslam’s movements and whereabouts, a source mentioned he traveled by way of Italy in August with a companion, but his presence triggered no alarm due to the fact he was not a wanted man at the time.

His companion was Ahmet Dahmani, a Belgian man of Moroccan origin who was arrested in Turkey final week on suspicion of involvement in the Paris attacks, the investigative supply stated.

In Belgium, prosecutors stated they had charged a fourth individual with terrorist offences linked to the Paris attacks.

They released all 15 others detained in police raids on Sunday. Two of 5 men and women detained on Monday have been also released while the other three had their custody prolonged.

Soldiers patrolled the streets of Brussels, the bustling European Union capital, which has been in lockdown because Saturday.

On the Grand Spot, a historic central square that normally draws crowds of tourists, an armored military automobile was parked under an illuminated Christmas tree.

NATO, which raised its alert level soon after the Paris attacks, mentioned its headquarters in the city have been open, but some staff had been asked to operate from home. EU institutions had been also open with soldiers patrolling outdoors.

Interior Minister Jan Jambon told RTL radio, nonetheless, that the capital was still operating. “Apart from the closed metro and schools, life goes on in Brussels,” he mentioned.

Workers were also setting up stalls for the city center Christmas industry, which is due to open on Friday, and organizers of the Davis Cup tennis final between Belgium and Britain in the city of Ghent, 55 km (35 miles) from the capital, mentioned it would go ahead this weekend.

AIRCRAFT CARRIER

French jets from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier struck Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria on Monday, although Britain supplied France the use of an air base in Cyprus to hit the militants behind the Paris attacks.

French President Francois Hollande met British Prime Minister David Cameron in Paris as part of efforts to rally assistance for the fight against Islamic State. Hollande is also due to visit Washington and Moscow this week. The French president and U.S. President Barack Obama will hold a joint news conference on Tuesday morning, the White Property mentioned.

Cameron supplied air-to-air refueling solutions and mentioned he was convinced Britain must carry out air strikes alongside France and would be recommending that Britain’s parliament vote by means of such measures.

French jets taking off from the country’s flagship in the eastern Mediterranean destroyed targets in Ramadi and Mosul in Iraq on Monday in assistance of Iraqi forces on the ground, the French armed forces stated in a statement.

In the evening, a raid was carried out on Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, exactly where the French armed forces said planes destroyed a number of facilities which includes a command center.

(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels, and Matthias Inverardi, Gerard Bon, David Clarke and John Irish Writing by Giles Elgood and Peter Cooney Editing by Ralph Boulton and Lisa Shumaker)

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