French police stormed the Paris suburb of Saint Denis in the early hours of the morning in their search for suspected terrorists who carried out last weeks Paris attacks.
Their target Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged ringleader was not found and is believed to be on the run. The terror raid resulted in the arrest of seven people and the deaths of two others, one of whom blew herself up, according to officials.
Christian Science Monitor reports:
Loud gunshots and occasional explosions rippled through the neighborhood of St. Denis, starting around 4:30 a.m. and lasting several hours. One woman, cornered by police, blew herself up with a vest of explosives, Radio France International reports. The raid was launched on intelligence that another attack was “in the works,” reports The Washington Post.
Police trotted through side streets and squares, weapons raised, calling for bystanders to hit the ground this morning. Some residents were evacuated – still wearing their pajamas – and schools were closed. French newspaper Le Monde wrote that St. Denis “awoke in a state of war,” this morning, to the sounds of helicopters, gun shots, and the sight of camouflaged trucks and heavily armed security forces.
The neighborhood is known for its diversity and large Muslim population. “This is a city that has 130 different nationalities, including people who come from war zones. We are a population that needs serenity,” Didier Paillard, the mayor of St.-Denis, told The New York Times.
Scores of raids have been conducted in Paris since Friday’s deadly attacks, which left nearly 130 people dead. And 128 raids took place across France last night alone, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told France Info radio.
Amid the search for terror suspects, Europe’s growing migrant population has come under the microscope. The discovery of a Syrian passport near the body of one of the suicide bombers Friday has many concerned that the attacks will spark a backlash against the migrants flowing across the continent, The Christian Science Monitor reports.
Migrants have emerged as the scapegoats of the Paris attacks after news broke that a perpetrator of the rampage may have entered France via the migrant trail. The revelation has further stressed a Europe whose sense of solidarity and identity has been profoundly tested by the sheer volume of refugees crossing its borders. Right-wing politicians and heads of state in Europe – now joined by state governors in the United States – are calling for doors and borders to be closed….
“The days of unchecked immigration and illegal entry can’t continue,” Bavaria’s Finance Minister Markus Söder said over the weekend. “Paris changes everything.”
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