As world leaders speak cohesively on the need of a united front to tackle the menace of terrorism in the wake of Paris attacks, there were growing concerns on Sunday about more such attacks in the French capital and other European cities.
While Paris attacks took centrestage at G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, reports suggested that there may be some more gunmen roaming freely waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Reports also said some of the gunmen who unleashed a wave of terror across Paris killing nearly 130 people and injuring over 200 may have managed to escape and are still on the loose.
Three brothers involved in attacks
Three brothers were involved in the Paris attacks, according to French news agency AFP, with one possibly still at large.
Citing sources close to the investigation, AFP reported that one brother died in the attacks late on Friday, one is in custody in Belgium but it is unclear whether he took part in the rampage, and a third either took part and died during the attacks or is at large.
Previous reports said police were hunting a man who rented a black Volkwagen Polo used in the attacks, but it is not known if he is the brother possibly at large.
Security has been heightened across France and across Europe’s normally open borders. In an unprecented move, UK has deployed special forces on streets across major cities in the wake of Paris attacks.
A car used by the terrorist gang who fired at people in restaurants during the attacks was found abandoned in the early hours of Sunday in the eastern suburb of Montreuil, three miles from the scene of the attacks, The Telegraph reported.
The car, the second vehicle police have found linked to Paris attacks, is thought to have been used in the shootings of customers at Le Petit Cambodge and Le Carillon bar. Investigators found three kalashnikovs and bullet magazines inside the car suggesting that the group of terrorists had tried to flee after dropping one suicide bomber near Place de La Nation, the daily added.
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said three groups of attackers, including seven suicide bombers wearing identical vests containing the explosive TATP, carried out the attacks that began as Parisians enjoyed a night out Friday.
French police officials probing the attacks said that terrorists’ aides could still be on the run. Authorities are particularly concerned about the threat from hundreds of French Islamic radicals who have traveled to Syria and returned home, possibly with dangerous skills.
US and France to intensify air strikes against IS
France will intensify its air strikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq in coordination with the US, according to US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.
“First of all, we’re clearly going to work very closely with the French in terms of intelligence sharing, also in terms of their military response inside of Syria,” Rhodes told ABC TV channel at the G20 summit in Turkey.
“The French have been with us in Iraq and Syria and conducting airstrikes. I think we want to continue to intensify that coordination,” he said.
One of the attackers identified
Meanwhile, details of the attackers have emerged. 29-year-old French national, Ismael Mostefai, who had a record of petty crime and had been flagged in 2010 for ties to Islamic radicalism. He was identified from fingerprints found on a finger amid the bloody carnage from a Paris concert hall, the Paris prosecutor said. A judicial official and lawmaker Jean-Pierre Gorges confirmed his identity.
Police detained his father, a brother and other relatives on Saturday night, and they were still being questioned Sunday, reports said.
Raid and arrests in Belgium
Belgian authorities raided a Brussels neighbourhood and arrested seven people near its border with France after a car with Belgian license plates was seen close to Paris’ Bataclan theater, where at least 89 people died in a hailstorm of bullets.
A nation in mourning
Entire France was enveloped in mourning on Sunday. Flags were lowered and Notre Dame Cathedral – closed to tourists like many Paris sites – planned a special church service on Sunday for families of the victims. Well-wishers heaped flowers and notes on a monument to the dead in the neighbourhood where attackers sprayed gunfire on cafe diners and concert-goers.
Terror cloud on G20 Summit
In a fresh reminder of the Islamic State’s expanding capacity to wreak havoc, five Turkish police officers were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up during a police raid on a suspected IS hideout near the Syrian border. Turkish security forces also rounded up 20 suspected IS militants in and around Antalya in the run-up to the G-20.
Modi, Obama call for united fight against terrorism
“Today, we meet in the tragic shadow of dreadful acts of terrorism. Combating it must be major priority for G20,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Antalaya where the leaders of world’s top 20 economies are meeting.
As the two-day G20 Summit began in the Turkish coastal resort town, the US President Barack Obama vowed to stand with France in hunting down the perpetrators of Paris attacks and said, “The killing of innocent people based on a twisted ideology is an attack not just on France, not just on Turkey but it is an attack on the civilised world.”
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