Hollande: France to intensify Syria operations | News | DW | 16.11.2015
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Hollande: France to intensify Syria operations

DW is reporting on events relating to the Paris terror attacks as they happen. French President Francois Hollande has called for a strengthening of security forces and a broader international coalition against "IS."

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).

16:24 Talking to the press from the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government would not step back from its decision to stop Canada's involvement in airstrikes over Syria.

"We made a clear commitment in the campaign to stop the bombing mission by Canadian jets...and we have the mandate to do that," said Trudeau, in spite of British and American concerns that this could greatly weaken the anti-"IS" coalition. Trudeau clarified that this did not mean Canada wouldn't play a roke in the fight against the terrorist group.

16: 14 Officials have said they are conducting thorough security checks at the Austria-Slovenia border following reports that one of the Paris attackers came through that crossing in September. This follows clashes between pro and anti-migrant demonstrators on Sunday that saw around 80 cars damaged in the violence.

Every migrant coming through the border is being body searched and having their belongings scanned, police said.

16:01 Speaking to a press conference in Turkey, US President Barack Obama said that while it was important not to equate Islamist terrorism with mainstream Islam, there had not been enough pushback from clerics.

Obama encouraged Muslim religious leaders to do more to ensure young people are "not infected" with extremism, according to the Associated Press.

15:44 President Hollande announced to parliament that a new bill to extend the state of emergency for three months will be presented on Wednesday. He also detailed plans to create 5,000 new jobs in the security forces "to ensure our collective safety."

He further called for legal changes that would make it easier to deport foreigners and strip individuals with dual citizenship of their French nationality if they are condemned for terrorism.

15:20 "The French republic has overcome other obstacles," said President Francois Hollande before a joint session of parliament in Paris, the first such speech by a French president since Nicolas Sarkozy spoke on the financial crisis in 2009. "Those who have attempted anything against us in history have lost...the French people are valiant."

Hollande commended the police and security forces for their swift response to the attacks. He also declared that "France is at war" against terrorism, promising to "intensify operations in Syria," and referenced last night's bombing of an 'IS' command center in Raqqa. He said he plans to meet President Obama and Russia's Vladimir Putin in the coming days to discuss a broader strategy.

15:00: Speaking at the G20 Summit, US President Barack Obama said Washington would intensify its efforts to destroy IS in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris but would not change its overall military strategy. In addition, Obama called on countries around the world to play a larger role in the fight and urged governments not to refuse entry to refugees in retaliation for the violent acts on Friday. "Slamming the doors in their (the refugees') faces would be a betrayal of our values," Obama said.

14:34: Belgian authorities said two of the seven people arrested on Saturday have been charged with engaging in terrorism-related activities.

14:27: Marine Le Pen, head of the populist far-right political party National Front, said France should stop accepting migrants immediately, "as a precaution."

13:20: Moroccan officials said they arrested four people with ties to the "Islamic State" who were apparently planning to carry out attacks in the North African country.

13:14: Officials said the raid in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek has ended, and no suspect in connection with the Paris attack was apprehended.

12:56: Belgian prosecutors said five of the seven people arrested in connection with the Paris attacks have been released, according to Reuters news agency.

12:19: The "Islamic State" (IS) militant group, which claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, released a video on Monday warning countries taking part in air strikes that they would also be the target of terror attacks, Reuters news agency reported.

11:12: Belgium's state broadcaster has denied a report by news broadcaster RTL that a person had been arrested in connection with the Paris attack during the raid in Molenbeek on Monday.

11:00: A minute's silence was held across Europe in honor of the victims of the Paris attacks.

10:16: French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 104 people had been put under house arrest since Friday. In addition, there have been 23 arrests.

10:05: A police operation linked to the Paris attacks is currently underway in Brussels, in the neighborhood of Molenbeek, according to local media reports.

09:50: French officials have identified Abdelhamid Abaaoud as the suspected mastermind behind the Paris attacks, the Associated Press reported. The 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan descent remains at large.

09:27: German Justice Minister Heiko Maas warned against drawing a link between refugees and terrorists. "We are aware that the IS is known to leave such false tracks behind to politcize and radicalize the issue over refugees in Europe," he said in an interview with broadcaster ARD. He later took to Twitter, writing, "Refugees are victims, not perpetrators." Other German politicians have also come out in defense of refugees.

09:23: French prosecutors have released more information regarding the two most recently identified attackers. One, 28-year-old Samy Amimour, took part in the massacre in the Bataclan concert hall. The other went by the name of Ahmad Al Mohammad and was carrying a Syrian passport.

09:15: Prosecutors announce two more Paris attackers identified, including one already facing terrorism charges in France, according to the Associated Press.

09:08: Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, warned officials not to confuse the debates regarding terrorism and refugees. "If you do that, you make a huge mistake," he said. EU ministers are meeting on Monday to discuss ways to end the crises in the Middle East.

09:06: UK announces it will boost intelligence agency staff numbers by nearly 2,000 personnel.

09:01: Paris will be the "capital of the world" when the upcoming UN climate talks take place in the French capital on November 30, although some events will be cancelled, Valls said.

08:50: Paris attacker Brahim Abdesam had links to an IS militant named Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who headed a terrorist cell based in the eastern Belgian city of Verviers, according to a report released Monday.

08:30: Stocks fell Monday as the world continues to reel from the attacks in Paris. The tourism and leisure industries were especially hard-hit, a reflection of growing fear over the possibility of further attacks in Europe.

08:04: Valls says French police have conducted "more than 150" raids on terrorist suspects since Friday night's attacks. Thirteen raids were carried out in the southeastern city of Lyon, during which five suspects were arrested and an arsenal of weapons was confiscated.

07:48: Valls said authorities suspect new terrorist attacks are being planned in France and Europe.

07:22: French Prime Minister Valls told broadcaster RTL the terrorist attacks on Friday night were "organized, thought out and planned."

blc, es/jil (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)

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