France: Attacks Were Planned From Syria

Mastermind believed to be Belgian-born ISIS militant
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2015 4:49 AM CST
Updated Nov 16, 2015 6:50 AM CST
French police secure the perimeter after panic broke out among mourners who paid their respects at the attack sites in Paris on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
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(Newser) – Some of the terrorists were homegrown, but Friday night's terror attacks in Paris were an international affair that was planned in Syria, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned on Monday, the morning after French planes pounded targets in Raqqa. Valls warned that France is dealing with a "terrorist army" that has more attacks planned, and he said that more than 150 raids took place across the country Monday morning. He said France is using the "legal framework of the state of emergency to question people who are part of the radical jihadist movement," as well as "those who advocate hate of the republic," the BBC reports. CNN reports that the raids resulted in at least 23 arrests and the seizure of weapons related to the Friday attacks. In other developments:

  • A French official has identified the mastermind of the attacks as Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian national and ISIS extremist, the AP reports. Abaaoud is also believed to have masterminded thwarted attacks on a church and a high-speed train earlier this year.

  • One of the bombers is believed to have been a Syrian citizen who posed as a refugee, and the investigation is continuing to find links to ISIS and to Syria, the New York Times reports. At least one of the other attackers is believed to be a French citizen who spent time in Syria, and authorities say they're probing a wide terror network that extends from Syria to Greece, Belgium, and France.
  • Prosecutors have confirmed the identity of another suicide bomber. Samy Amimour, who blew himself up after taking part in the Bataclan concert massacre, is a 28-year-old French citizen who was charged in a 2012 terror investigation, reports the AP.
  • The Independent has more on Abaaoud: The 27-year-old alleged mastermind is from the Molenbeek area of Brussels, where police have carried out several raids since Friday. He is now believed to be in Syria, where he is "one of the most active ISIS executioners," according to RTL.
  • Police are still hunting Salah Abdeslam, a Belgian national believed to have helped coordinate the attacks. A source tells CNN that police stopped the car he was in near the Belgian border hours after the attacks, but they didn't detain him or the two people he was traveling with.
(Read more Abdelhamid Abaaoud stories.)

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