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Raid To Catch Paris Mastermind Over

NOVEMBER 18, 2015

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Raid To Catch Paris Mastermind Over

A 7-hr operation to storm a Paris apartment where Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of last week's terror attacks was believed to be holed up, is over.  A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up and one or two other terrorists have died. Seven people were in the standoff, which began before dawn. 

The police believe that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian ISIS terrorist, was inside the apartment in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, with five other heavily armed people. Abaaoud was previously thought to be in Syria after fleeing raids in Belgium earlier this year. Soldiers flooded into the area and heavily armed police were seen deploying along a street full of shops in the center of the district, while ambulances and fire engines filled the streets.

Some residents were evacuated, some still in their underwear, and authorities warned residents to keep away from windows. The raid came as Europe was placed on high alert after footage from the scene of one of Friday's attacks in Paris, which killed 129 and injured 350, revealed a ninth suspect may have taken part.

It was not clear if the ninth man was one of two suspected accomplices detained in Belgium or was on the run, potentially with 26-year-old fugitive Frenchman Salah Abdeslam who took part in the attacks with his suicide-bomber brother Brahim.

French President Francois Hollande will hold discussions on extending to three months the state of emergency declared after the worst attacks in French history. As nervousness gripped Europe after the carnage, a football match between Germany and the Netherlands in Hanover was cancelled and the crowd evacuated after police acted on a "serious" bomb threat.

As police stepped up the hunt for the fugitives, French and Russian jets pounded IS targets in the group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa for a third consecutive day. France and Russia have vowed merciless retaliation for the Paris attacks and last month's bombing of a Russian airliner over the Egyptian Sinai peninsula which killed 229 people and was also claimed by the ISIS.

The attacks have galvanised international resolve to destroy the jihadist group and end Syria's more than four-year civil war, while potentially restoring ties between Russia and France that had collapsed since last year's Ukraine crisis. France has invoked a previously unused European Union article to ask member states for help in its mission to fight back against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, which received unanimous backing from Brussels.


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