TERRORISM: UPDATE 11-19-2015 — Paris Attack Ringleader Killed; ISIS Threatens New York and Washington; Hollande’s Promise; French Parliament Extends State of Emergency
Paris Attacks Update.
UPDATES WITH FRENCH AUTHORITIES CONFIRMING ATTACK RINGLEADER WAS KILLED IN WEDNESDAY RAID … French govt. calls for European plan to reinforce, consolidate borders.
French and European authorities today (November 19) confirmed that the suspected ringleader of last week’s terror attacks in Paris was killed in a gun battle with police and soldiers in a Paris suburb Wednesday, according to media reports including CNN, the Washington Post and BBC.
Meanwhile, as the search continues across Europe for any of the participants or planners of last Friday’s shooting and bombing attacks that killed 129 people, the French Parliament has extended the State of Emergency declared by President Francois Hollande, giving authorities extraordinary powers to search without warrants and detain suspects.
In announcing the death of the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said it was “urgent,” that Europe should come together to defend itself, according to the BBC. Also urgent, Cazeneuve said, was the need for “a European plan” to reinforce and consolidate borders.
The minister said the body of Abaaoud, a Belgian national of Moroccan descent, was identified by fingerprints. He did not give many details — including how the suspect was killed during the seven-hour siege: in a shootout with police or by blowing himself up.
Early Wednesday (November 18), police raided two apartments in a northern Parisian suburb. A suicide bomber blew herself up and a police sniper took out a second terror suspect after authorities stormed the apartments and a church in Saint-Denis, the suburb where one of last week’s deadly terrorist attacks occurred, according to CNN.
The raid in Saint-Denis, home to the Stade de France arena that was hit by three suicide bombers Friday (November 13), targeted a suspected mastermind of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, though authorities weren’t certain he was at any of the locations, a senior Belgian counterterrorism official told CNN.
Police sources say, however, the raid was well-timed because the suspects were “about to move on some kind of operation.”
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New York City Threatened.
Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed Islamic State — which is taking credit for the attacks in Paris that killed 129 — has released a video warning that New York City is the extremist terror group’s next target.
But city officials say there is no “specific and credible threat,” Reuters reported. New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said there was nothing new about the video, which he called “hastily produced.” Bratton and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio held a joint news conference Wednesday (November 18) in Times Square to calm fears in the largest U.S. city, where more than 2,000 people were killed in the 9/11 terror attacks at the World Trade Center.
“There is no credible and specific threat against New York City,” de Blasio said, encouraging New Yorkers to “go about their business” as normal, while remaining watchful.
ISIS also appeared to threaten an attack on Washington D.C., and any country launching air strikes on Syria, in a new video from the terror group that surfaced online Monday (November 16).
The six-minute video clip comes a day after France launched a series of airstrikes on Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital in Syria, the New York Daily News reports. Twelve French aircraft dropped at least 20 bombs over jihadi training camps during an evening assault.
France had been bombing ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq for months already, but the new strikes showed a severe escalation of force responding to the massacre that French President Francois Hollande has called “an act of war.”
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Hollande Outlines French Response.
Speaking to a gathering of the nation’s mayors in Paris Wednesday (November 18) French President Hollande to increase French border security with the creation of 5,000 new police posts; 1,000 new customs and border guards and 2,500 new justice officials.
Hollande also said that more than 9,000 army positions, that were to have been scrapped will not be eliminated, according to the BBC.
Entry filed under: Aircraft, Counter Terrorism, Homeland Security, International Crime, National Security and Defense, News Developments, Special Operations. Tags: Abdelhamid Abaaoud, air strikes against Islamic State, French state of emergency, Islamic State threats to New York, Paris attacks, President Francois Hollande, Washington.