Suspected architect of Paris attacks is dead
French police commandos descended upon a Paris apartment on Wednesday in a pre-dawn raid aimed at snaring the alleged ringleader of last week’s deadly terrorist attacks, triggering a firefight that left two suspects dead and underscored France’s vulnerability despite a widening crackdown.
A woman triggered a suicide blast when police stormed the apartment in Saint-Denis, a diverse area just north of Paris, and another suspect died, both part of a cell that authorities said may have been plotting another attack around Paris just five days after the coordinated attacks that left at least 129 people dead and over 300 wounded.
It was not immediately clear whether the massive raid snared the most-wanted figures linked to the Paris bloodshed, a Belgian militant who fought with the Islamic State in Syria and boasted he could elude Western intelligence. Seven suspects were arrested in the operation, which lasted seven hours, including two suspects arrested who were found “hiding in rubble” created by explosions during the raid.
Five days after the worst violence on French soil since World War II, European nations remained on edge, enhancing vigilance against possible attacks by Islamist militants who have promised to bring the brutal tactics employed in Iraq and Syria to the West.
President Francois Hollande, seeking to reassure French citizens unnerved by the bloodshed on the streets of Paris, said the attacks would not alter the French way of life.
“We are at war against terrorism, terrorism which declared war on us,” Holland said at a meeting of French mayors. “It is the [Islamic State] jihadist organization. It has an army. It has financial resources. It has oil. It has a territory.
“It has allies in Europe, including in our country,” he continued, “with young, radicalized Islamist people. It committed atrocities there and wants to kill here. It has killed here.”
On Thursday he renewed his case for an extension to a state of emergency decreed after the attacks and also for changes to the constitution that he said would make France safer.