PARIS/BRUSSELS An investigation into the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris widened on Tuesday when French prosecutors said a man who offered lodging to the suspected ringleader should have known of a militant plot, and Belgium issued a warrant for a new suspect.
Painting a chilling image of ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Paris prosecutor said that right after dropping off the gunmen and suicide bombers at the cafes and bars exactly where the attacks were to take spot, he later returned to the scene even though the killing spree was in complete swing.
The coordinated attacks, in which 130 men and women had been killed, prompted France to declare a national state of emergency and to step up air strikes in Syria on Islamic State, the militant group that has claimed duty.
President Francois Hollande, seeking to rally international assistance for the military campaign against Islamic State, met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday exactly where they agreed to scale up operations against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
At a joint news conference, Hollande stated he and Obama shared a “relentless determination to fight terrorism anywhere and everywhere.”
In Paris, prosecutor Francois Molins mentioned Islamist militants who died for the duration of a shootout with police on Nov. 18 had been plotting an attack on the capital’s business district. Reuters exclusively reported the plot to attack the district of La Defense on Nov. 18.
Molins mentioned he had place beneath formal investigation a Frenchman who had provided lodging for Abaaoud and his associates at the apartment in the suburb of St. Denis.
“Jawad Bendaoud himself welcomed the terrorists on Nov. 17 towards 10:45 p.m. He could not have been in any doubt … that he was taking element in a terrorist organisation,” Molins told a news conference.
Bendaoud stated that ahead of he was detained by police last Wednesday he had been asked to put up two people for three days in the apartment, but had no thought one particular of them might have been the suspected mastermind of the Nov. 13 attacks.
Abaaoud died during the police raid along with Hasna Aitboulahcen, a woman believed to be his cousin, and an as yet unidentified third particular person.
French investigators are nevertheless piecing together precisely who did what when and have launched a hunt to discover Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of becoming the eighth attacker mentioned by Islamic State when it claimed duty.
Abdeslam, 26, fled to Belgium the day following the shootings and his presumed presence in Brussels was 1 of the aspects behind a security lockdown in the city more than the past couple of days.
Fearing an imminent Paris-style attack, Belgium has extended a maximum security alert in Brussels till next Monday. About half the stations on its metro system will reopen on Wednesday along with city schools, but 300 additional police officers and 200 soldiers will be deployed.
Belgium has been at the heart of investigations into the attacks since France stated two of the suicide bombers in Paris had lived there. 5 men and women, which includes two who travelled with Abdeslam back to Brussels, have been charged with terrorist offences in Belgium. Abdeslam’s brother, Brahim, blew himself up.
Belgium’s state prosecutor, in a statement announcing details of other folks charged in the case, stated on Tuesday it had issued an international arrest warrant for Mohamed Abrini, who was seen with Abdeslam two days before the attacks.
Abrini, 30, was filmed with Abdeslam at a fuel station in northern France on Nov. 11 and was driving the Renault Clio car later utilized by the attackers in the French capital.
A police wanted poster described Abrini as “unsafe and possibly armed”.
While main purchasing centres in Brussels remained closed on Tuesday, two Ikea furniture shops on the edge of town reopened, along with some of the bigger supermarkets in the city.
The Magritte museum remained shut, even so, and Brussels had however to make a decision whether to open its Christmas market on Friday in the historic Grand Location, where workers have set up stalls with an armoured personnel carrier in the background.
“We are at the time of year when we are supposed to have a lot of individuals, and enhance business,” stated Brussels toy shop worker Laeticia Shalaj. “Folks are scared and are afraid of leaving their houses.”
Given that the Paris killings, France has moved its flagship Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier into the eastern Mediterranean to step up its bombardments of Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.
France said late on Tuesday its warplanes had destroyed an Islamic State command centre at Tal Afar, some 45 km (28 miles) west of Mosul in Iraq.
Right after talks with Hollande at the White Residence, Obama said: “We are here today to declare that the United States and France stand united in total solidarity to deliver justice to these terrorists and those who sent them and to defend our nations.”
As millions of Americans prepare to travel for the U.S. Thanksgiving vacation on Thursday, Obama acknowledged worry among Americans of a Paris-style attack in the United States.
The White House mentioned Obama was set to meet on Wednesday morning with his national security advisers to evaluation the “homeland security posture” of the United States soon after the Paris attacks and “as we enter the vacation season.
“The president was briefed that there is at the moment no distinct, credible threat to the homeland” from Islamic State, the White Home mentioned.
Hollande is due to check out Moscow on Thursday, where he and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to talk about approaches of boosting their campaign to crush Islamic State.
Tracing Abdeslam’s movements considering that the attacks has been a major concentrate of the investigations in Paris. An explosive belt was discovered dumped close to the capital on Monday, close to a place exactly where his mobile telephone was detected the night soon after the attacks, the prosecutor mentioned.
Molins mentioned the belt was comparable to those utilised by the bombers during the Nov. 13 attacks, despite the fact that it was nevertheless being established on Tuesday whether the belt was Abdeslam’s.
One particular theory was that Abdeslam had intended to blow himself up in the 18th district of Paris but had abandoned the strategy, even though it was not clear why.
(Additional reporting by Chine Labbe, David Clarke and Myriam Rivet in Paris, John Irish and Roberta Rampton in Washington, Miranda Alexander-Webber and Alastair MacDonald in Brussels and Julie Rimbert in Toulouse Writing by Gareth Jones and Peter Cooney Editing by David Stamp and Sandra Maler)
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