PARIS — The police stormed the northern Paris suburb of St. Denis early Wednesday morning in a raid evidently aimed at capturing at least two fugitives wanted for participating in the terrorist attacks that killed 129 men and women in Paris on Friday.
Heavy gunfire erupted about 4 a.m., the suburb’s mayor, Didier Paillard, and residents told a French tv channel, iTélé, and it lasted at least 20 minutes. Helicopters flew overhead, and the authorities warned people to stay indoors.
The raid appeared to focus on an apartment close to Place Jean Jaurès, a major square in St. Denis not far from the Stade de France, where 3 of the seven attackers who died on Friday blew themselves up. The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed the raid but could not supply instant particulars.
The assault in St. Denis appeared to concentrate on a fugitive, whose existence was confirmed by intelligence officials on Tuesday night.
The police in France and Belgium continued their pursuit of another fugitive, Salah Abdeslam, 26, a Frenchman who is believed to have escaped to Brussels, even though two French officials — who have been briefed on the investigation but were not authorized to discuss operational specifics — said on Tuesday evening that the authorities had been seeking for an accomplice who was directly involved in the attacks.
Seven attackers died in the assaults on Friday evening, but it now seems that at least nine took component or played some part.
Some of the attackers, who killed 129 people in a closely coordinated series of assaults that lasted 3 hours, rented a house in the northeast Paris suburb of Bobigny final week, telling the landlady they have been businessmen from Belgium, and a hotel suite in the southeast Paris suburb of Alfortville, officials stated.
The individual suspected of organizing the attacks — a Belgian militant named Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is 27 or 28 — is believed to be in Syria with fellow Islamic State militants, French and American intelligence officials have concluded.
Early Tuesday, 10 French fighter jets, taking off from bases in Jordan and the Persian Gulf, dropped 16 bombs on what the French Defense Ministry described as an Islamic State command center and education center in the group’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, Syria. Hours later, Russia carried out an attack on Raqqa with cruise missiles and extended-range bombers, after acknowledging that a terrorist bomb brought down a Russian jetliner over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt — a hotbed of Islamic State activity — on Oct. 31.
France, by way of its defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, took the extraordinary step on Tuesday of invoking a European Union treaty that obliges members to assist any member that is “the victim of armed aggression on its territory.”
President François Hollande took methods to shore up international help for what he has referred to as a war to annihilate the Islamic State, also recognized as ISIS or ISIL. He met with Secretary of State John Kerry, who expressed sympathy but reiterated the Obama administration’s view that the group would not be destroyed till Syria’s embattled president, Bashar al-Assad, leaves energy. Mr. Hollande will go to Washington and Moscow subsequent week to meet with Mr. Obama and the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament that the Paris attacks had strengthened the case for intervening against the Islamic State in Syria, a move that Parliament rejected in 2013.
On France’s third and final day of national mourning, crowds gathered to light candles and lay flowers at the Place de la République and at makeshift memorials at the sites of the attacks. In the southwestern city of Toulouse, thousands gathered in the central square, waving French flags and singing “La Marseillaise,” the national anthem.
“The terrorists want to erase almost everything: culture, youth, life, and also history and memory,” Mr. Hollande stated in a speech at a Unesco conference in Paris.
“You do not fight against terrorism by hiding, by placing your life on hold, by suspending financial, social and cultural life, by banning concerts, theater, sports competitions,” he stated. “We will not yield to terrorism by suspending our way of life.”
A lot of Parisians and visitors followed his advice, flocking to restaurants, cafes and museums in an work to carry on with regular life. But the country continued to reel from the attacks, the worst violence on French soil in decades. Officials said the bodies of 117 of the 129 men and women killed had been positively identified 221 of the 352 people injured remained in hospitals, 57 in intensive care.
The nation remained beneath a state of emergency, as developments in the investigation emerged in a steady trickle.
In the morning, the authorities seized a black Renault Clio with Belgian license plates in the 18th Arrondissement on the northern edge of Paris, subsequent to the suburb of St.-Denis, where 3 suicide bombers detonated their explosives in the course of a soccer game at the Stade de France. Authorities are hunting into the possibility that the car may have been intended for however another attack.
On Tuesday night, the authorities released a photo of 1 of the stadium bombers — who employed a Syrian passport to enter Greece last month, evidently posing as a migrant — and asked for the public’s support in identifying him. The passport was possibly stolen, and the identity on the passport web page — Ahmad al-Mohammad, 25, of Idlib, Syria — may be that of a dead Syrian soldier, the French official said.
The authorities stated the car had been noticed — it was not clear when, or who drove it — on the A1 highway, which connects the suburbs of Paris with the northeastern city of Lille, about a dozen miles from the Belgian border.
In Belgium, the authorities place the country at its highest alert level. They charged two men — Hamza Attou, 21, a Brussels native, and Mohamed Amri, 27, who was born in Morocco — with participating in a terrorist activity, saying they had driven Mr. Abdeslam, the fugitive, from Paris to Brussels.
The two men frequented a bar owned by Mr. Abdeslam and his brother Ibrahim, who blew himself up at a restaurant on Friday in one of the attacks. The brothers lived in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, also the base for Mr. Abaaoud, the Belgian believed to have planned the attacks. A third brother, Mohamed, who was not involved in the assaults, publicly appealed on Tuesday for Salah to turn himself in.
“We are a family, we are considering about him, we are asking yourself where he is, if he is scared, if he is feeding himself,” Mohamed Abdeslam told the French news channel BFM Television in Brussels. “The best would be for him to surrender so that the justice program may possibly shed light on this scenario.”
Salah Abdeslam was stopped at a visitors check in the French town of Cambrai on Saturday morning, as he headed toward the Belgian border, but was then waved via after displaying identification.
The Austrian police disclosed on Tuesday that Mr. Abdeslam was also stopped during a routine police verify in northern Austria on Sept. 9 — 4 days right after Germany and Austria opened their borders to refugees streaming in by means of Hungary. He crossed into Austria from Germany in a auto with two guys who have not been identified, and told the police that he would be spending a couple of days on holiday in Austria, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Mr. Kerry, in a hastily arranged trip to Paris to show solidarity, stated the United States and France had no option but to wage war against the Islamic State, the apocalyptic militant group that purports to have restored a caliphate, or a global Muslim community beneath a single leader.
“This is just raw terror to set up a caliphate,” Mr. Kerry said before meeting separately with Mr. Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. “This is not a predicament where we have a option. We’re not selecting to randomly go to war. We’re attempting to avoid it, attempting to locate a greater path.”
At least 4 Americans have been wounded in the attacks on Paris, and one, Nohemi Gonzalez, died.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told France Info radio that the police had performed 128 raids in France overnight against terrorism suspects. He also mentioned 115,000 police officers and troops had been deployed across the nation “to make certain the protection of the French.”
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