Sunday, November 15, 2015 12:15 pm
Police in France on Sunday named one of the gunmen involved in the multiple attacks on Paris on Friday.
He is 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.
Paris prosecutor, Francois Molins said the man had a security file for Islamist radicalisation, adding that he had a criminal record but had never spent time in jail.
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.
Molins told reporters that three jihadist cells staged co-ordinated hits at bars, a concert hall and soccer stadium killing 129 people and injuring 352, including 99 who were in a serious condition.
Seven gunmen, all of whom were wearing suicide vests packed with explosives, died in the multiple assaults.
Prosecutors 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.
Greek officials said one and perhaps two of the assailants had passed through Greece in October from Turkey alongside Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their homeland.
“We are at war. We have been hit by an act of war, organised methodically by a terrorist, jihadist army,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls told TF1 television on Saturday night.
“Because we are at war we will take exceptional measures. We will act and we will hit them. We will hit this enemy to destroy them, obviously in France and Europe … but also in Syria and Iraq,” he said. “We will win.”
France was the first European state to join U.S. air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq in September 2014, while a year later it extended its air strikes to Syria.
The Paris attacks was the deadliest attack in France since World War Two and the worst such assault in Europe since the Madrid train bombings of 2004, in which Islamists killed 191 people.
Read another update: “This is the sole person on which we have received a request from the French police
Quoting an unnamed senior official, Israeli television said Israel’s spy services saw a “clear operational link” between the Paris mayhem, suicide bombings in Beirut on Thursday, which killed 43, and the Oct. 31 downing of a Russian airliner in the Egyptian Sinai, where 224 people died.
France had been on high alert since Islamist gunmen attacked the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in January, killing 18 people.
Those attacks briefly united France in defence of freedom of speech, with a mass demonstration of more than a million people. But that unity has since broken down, with far-right populist Marine Le Pen gaining on both mainstream parties by blaming France’s security problems on immigration and Islam.
If confirmed, the infiltration of militants into the flow of refugees to carry out attacks in Europe could have far-reaching political consequences.
The attacks fuelled a debate raging in Europe about how to handle the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and other migrants propelled by civil war in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
*Updated with apology: The Photo of one of the 7 gunmen earlier posted was said to be a wrong one. We apologise for the error and shall publish the right one when released by the Paris Prosecutor’s Office