Paris | The Belgian jihadi suspected of masterminding deadly attacks in Paris was killed in a police raid on a suburban apartment building, the city prosecutor’s office announced today. Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins’ office said 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud was identified based on skin samples.
His body was found in the apartment building targeted in the chaotic and bloody raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis yesterday. Police launched the operation after receiving information from tapped phone calls, surveillance and tipoffs suggesting that Abaaoud was holed up there. Killed along with Abaaoud was a woman who blew herself up with an explosives vest at the beginning of the raid. Eight people were arrested.
With France still reeling from the Friday attacks that killed 129 people and wounded hundreds of others, Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that Islamic extremists might at some point use chemical or biological weapons, and urged lawmakers to extend a national state of emergency by three months.
Terrorism hit France not because of what it is doing in Iraq and Syria … but for what it is, Valls told the lower house of Parliament. He added, We know that there could also be a risk of chemical or biological weapons. Valls did not say there was a specific threat involving such weapons. Elsewhere in Europe, jittery leaders and law enforcement moved to protect their populations as Rob Wainwright, director of the European Union’s police coordination organisation Europol, warned of a very serious escalation of the terror threat in Europe.
In Italy, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said law enforcement was searching for five people flagged by the FBI in response to a US warning about potential targets following the attacks that killed 129 people and wounded hundreds in the French capital.
The State Department issued a warning yesterday that St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Milan’s cathedral and La Scala opera house, as well as churches, synagogues, restaurants, theaters and hotels had been identified as potential targets. Danish and Norwegian police were asked to be on the lookout for a man Swedish authorities said is wanted in connection with an investigation into preparation for a terrorist offense.
Sweden’s Security Service, known as SAPO, said the request was not linked to the Paris attacks. In Belgium, where many of the Paris attackers lived, Prime Minister Charles Michel announced a package of additional anti-terror measures, and said 400 million euros (USD 427 million) would be earmarked to expand the fight.
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