Paris Attack, Islamist radicalization

Paris Attack, Islamist radicalization

French police questioned on Sunday relatives of one of the suicide attackers who brought carnage to Paris as a row over Europe’s refugee crisis re-ignited, with conservatives demanding an end to “the days of uncontrolled immigration”, as reported by Reuters.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters that three jihadist cells staged co-ordinated hits on Friday night at bars, a concert hall and soccer stadium, killing 129 people and injuring 352, including 99 who were in a serious condition.

Prosecutors have said the slaughter – claimed by Islamic State as revenge for French military action in Syria and Iraq – appeared to involve a multinational team with links to the Middle East, Belgium and possibly Germany as well as home-grown French roots.

Belgian prosecutors said two of the gunmen were French nationals who had been living in Brussels. They also said they had arrested seven people in the Belgian capital. Police staged raids on Saturday in Molenbeek, a poor, immigrant quarter.

In a sign that at least one gunman might have escaped, a source close to the investigation said a Seat car believed to have been used by the attackers had been found in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil with three Kalashnikov rifles inside.

A local resident told a Reuters cameraman that police had cordoned off the area around the car around midnight and brought in an anti-explosives vehicle in case it was boobytrapped. The car was taken away after the guns had been removed.

One attacker appears to have arrived in Europe alongside Syrian refugees, seeking asylum in Serbia. But with the European Union deeply split over the migrant crisis, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker stressed the attacker was not a refugee but a criminal.

Museums and theaters remained closed in Paris for a second day on Sunday, with hundreds of soldiers and police patrolling the streets and metro stations after French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency.

Seven gunmen, all of whom were wearing suicide vests packed with explosives, died in the multiple assaults. The first to be identified was named as Ismael Omar Mostefai, a 29-year-old who lived in the city of Chartres, southwest of Paris.

French media said he was French-born and of Algerian descent. Molins said the man had a security file for Islamist radicalization, adding that he had a criminal record but had never spent time in jail. He was identified through tests on his severed finger.

A judicial source said Mostefai’s father and brother had been taken in for questioning, along with other people believed to be close to him.