terça-feira, 17 de novembro de 2015
France Searches For Second Fugitive Suspect In Paris Attacks
France Searches For Second Fugitive Suspect In Paris Attacks
German official says Syrian passport may have been used as a false flag to stir fear of refugees.
AP/The Huffington Post
Posted: 11/17/2015 11:41 AM EST |
PARIS (AP) — French police are hunting for a second fugitive directly involved in the deadly Paris attacks, officials said Tuesday after France made an unprecedented demand that its European Union allies support its military action against the Islamic State group.
Surveillance video obtained by The Associated Press indicates a team of three attackers carried out the shootings at a Paris sidewalk cafe, leading police to believe that a second assailant is on the loose.
Video footage shows two black-clad gunmen with automatic weapons calmly firing on the bar, then returning slowly toward a waiting car, whose driver was maneuvering behind them.
Officials previously had not specified how many people were involved in the attack on the sidewalk bar on La Fontaine au Roi street.
Three French officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the investigation, confirmed that an analysis of the series of attacks on Friday indicated that one additional person directly involved in the assault remains unaccounted for.
In Germany, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin that a Syrian passport found with one of the Paris attackers with the name Ahmad al Mohammad may have been a false flag intended to make Europeans fearful of refugees. The passport showed registrations in Greece, Serbia and Croatia, which he described as "unusual."
He said the multiple registrations by a person using the passport were "evidence that this was a trail that was intentionally laid, but it can't be ruled out at the moment that this was an IS terrorist who came to France ... via Germany as a refugee.”
Reuters reported on Wednesday that the man carrying the passport may have traveled with a companion from Turkey to Europe.
The disclosure of a second possible fugitive came on the same day that France launched new airstrikes on the militants' stronghold in Syria; as Vladimir Putin ordered a Russian military cruiser to cooperate with French on fighting IS in Syria and as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hinted at a possible upcoming cease-fire in Syria that would let nations focus on fighting IS.
French and Belgian police were already looking for key suspect Salah Abdeslam, 26, whose suicide-bomber brother Brahim died in the attacks Friday night that killed at least 129 people and left over 350 wounded in Paris. Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for the carnage.
FRENCH NATIONAL POLICE
A friendly soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands in Hanover, Germany, was canceled on short notice Tuesday after a suspicious object was discovered at the stadium.
Everyone inside had to be evacuated, policeman Joerg Hoffmeister told the AP. Announcements at the stadium asked visitors to go home in a calm manner and said there was no danger to fear.
No immediate reason was given for the cancellation, but news agency dpa reported that there had been a threat of an "impending attack that had to be taken seriously." Earlier, the streets leading to the stadium had been blocked due to a bomb threat outside the stadium.
A German official said no explosives were found and no arrests were made in Hanover, according to Reuters.
Seven attackers died Friday night -- three around the national stadium, three inside the Bataclan concert hall, and one at a restaurant nearby. A team of gunmen also opened fire at nightspots in one of Paris' trendiest neighborhoods.
A cell phone with a map of the music venue that was attacked and a text message with words to the effect of "let's go" was found in a dustbin near the Bataclan concert hall, Reuters reported, citing CNN and French website Mediapart.
The Paris attacks have galvanized international determination to confront the militants.
The French government invoked a never-before-used article of the EU's Lisbon Treaty obliging members of the 28-nation bloc to give "aid and assistance by all the means in their power" to a member country that is "the victim of armed aggression on its territory."
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all 27 of France's EU partners responded positively.
"Every country said: I am going to assist, I am going to help," Drian said.
Arriving for talks in Brussels, Greek Defense Minister Panagiotis Kammenos told reporters that the Paris attacks were a game-changer for the bloc. "This is Sept. 11 for Europe," he said.
Paris police said 16 people had been arrested in the region in relation to the deadly attacks, and police have carried out 104 raids since a state of emergency was declared Saturday.
French military spokesman Col. Gilles Jaron said the latest airstrikes in the Islamic State group's de-facto capital in the Syrian city of Raqqa destroyed a command post and training camp. NATO allies were sharing intelligence and working closely with France, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.
In Moscow, Putin ordered the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, currently in the Mediterranean, to start cooperating with the French military on operations in Syria. His order came as Russia's defense minister said its warplanes fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. IS has positions in Aleppo province, while the Nusra militant group is in Idlib.
Moscow has vowed to hunt down those responsible for blowing up a Russian passenger plane over Egypt last month, killing 224 people, mostly Russian tourists. IS has also claimed responsibility for that Oct. 31 attack.
In this Nov. 1, 2015, file photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, Egyptian Military on cars approach a plane's tail at the wreckage of a passenger jet bound for St. Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana, Egypt.
Seven of the Paris attackers died Friday -- six after detonating suicide belts and a seventh from police gunfire -- but Iraqi intelligence officials told The Associated Press that their sources indicated 19 people had participated in the Paris attacks and five others had provided hands-on logistical support.
Mohamed Abdeslam, another brother of fugitive Salah Abdeslam, on Tuesday urged his brother to turn himself in. Mohamed, who was arrested and questioned following the attack before being released Monday, told French TV BFM that his brother was devout but showed no signs of being a radical Islamist. He said Salah prayed and attended a mosque occasionally, but also dressed in jeans and pullovers.
Two men arrested in Belgium, meanwhile, admitted driving to France to pick up Salah Abdeslam early Saturday, their lawyers said.
Mohammed Amri, 27, denies any involvement in the Paris attacks and says he went to Paris to collect his friend Salah, according to his defense lawyer Xavier Carrette. Hamza Attou, 21, says he went along to keep Amri company, his lawyer Carine Couquelet said. Both are being held on charges of terrorist murder and conspiracy.
Belgian media reported that Amri and Attou were being investigated as potential suppliers of the suicide bombs used in the attacks, since ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used to make explosives, was discovered in a search of their residence.
Their defense lawyers said they could not confirm those reports.
Salah and Brahim Abdeslam booked a hotel in the southeastern Paris suburb of Alfortville and rented a house in the northeastern suburb of Bobigny several days before the attacks, a French judicial official told The Associated Press. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation.
Austria's Interior Ministry said Salah Abdeslam, the suspected driver of one group of gunmen carrying out attacks on Paris, entered the country about two months ago with two companions that were not identified. After the attacks, Salah Abdeslam slipped through France's fingers, with French police accidentally permitting him to cross into Belgium on Saturday.
Seven people who were arrested near the Western German city of Aachen -- and who did not appear to have a direct link to the Paris attacks -- have been released. Authorities had acted on a tip that one of those arrested may be a key suspect, according to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. "Sadly it's not the man that everyone hoped it would be," he said.
Another Belgian car with a shattered front passenger window was found Tuesday in northern Paris -- the third vehicle police identified as having possible links to the attacks. Belgian media reported several kalashnikovs were found in the car.
Kerry flew to France as a gesture of solidarity and met Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Tuesday.
A picture taken on Nov. 17, 2015, shows a general view of the Appart'City hotel in Alfortville, where two rooms were rented the day before the attacks in Paris under the credit card of Salah Abdeslam, according to police sources.
A cease-fire between Syria's government and the opposition -- which would allow nations supporting Syria's various factions to focus more on IS -- could be just weeks away, Kerry said, describing it as potentially a "gigantic step" toward deeper international cooperation.
Standing next to Hollande at the Elysee Palace, Kerry said the carnage in the French capital, along with recent attacks in Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey, made it clear that more pressure must be brought to bear on Islamic State extremists.
A French security official said anti-terror intelligence officials had identified Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan descent, as the chief architect of the Paris attacks.
The official cited chatter from IS figures that Abaaoud had recommended a concert as an ideal target for inflicting maximum casualties, as well as electronic communications between Abaaoud and one of the Paris attackers who blew himself up. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive investigation.
It was not exactly clear where Abaaoud is.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve conceded that "the majority of those who were involved in this attack (in Paris) were unknown to our services."
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower shut down again Tuesday, after opening for just a day, and heavily armed troops patrolled the courtyard of the Louvre Museum.
In a show of solidarity, British Prime Minister David Cameron was to join Prince William at a friendly soccer match Tuesday night between England and France in London's Wembley Stadium. Armed police were patrolling the site and British fans, in a show of solidarity, were being encouraged to sing the French national anthem as well.
Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Jill Lawless in Paris, and Raf Casert and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.
This post has been updated to note the cancellation of a soccer game Tuesday.