Paris Mourns Victims As Police Hunts For Suspects

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france suspects

With tensions high across Paris, French authorities hunted Thursday for two heavily armed brothers they feared would strike again after the methodical killing of 12 people at a satirical newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.

 France’s prime minister said the possibility of a new attack “is our main concern” and announced several overnight arrests as the country began a day of national mourning.

The most senior security official abandoned a top-level meeting after just 10 minutes to rush to a shooting on the city’s southern edge that killed a policewoman. The shooter remained at large and it was not immediately clear if her death was linked to Wednesday’s deadly attack on the Paris newspaper Charlie Hebdo, where two police were among the 12 dead.

France’s prime minister, Manuel Valls, said the two suspects still at large in the Charlie Hebdo slayings — Cherif Kouachi, 32, and his 34-year-old brother Said Kouachi — were known to intelligence services and preventing them from carrying out another attack “is our main concern.”

Police swarmed a gas station in the northern Aisne region where the two men were reportedly spotted early Thursday and helicopters hovered above the site.

Valls told RTL radio several people had been arrested overnight; a security official put the total at seven, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. A third suspect in the Charlie Hebdo killings has already turned himself in.

Fears have run high in Europe that jihadis trained in warfare abroad would stage attacks at home. The French suspect in a deadly 2014 attack on a Jewish museum in Belgium had returned from fighting with extremists in Syria; and the man who rampaged in the south of France in 2012, killing three soldiers and four people at a Jewish school in Toulouse, received paramilitary training in Pakistan.

“France has been struck directly in the heart of its capital, in a place where the spirit of liberty — and thus of resistance — breathed freely,” President Francois Hollande said Thursday. The attack Wednesday took place midway between France’s Bastille and the city’s enormous Republique plaza.

At noon Thursday, the Paris metro came to a standstill and people gathered in homage near Notre Dame cathedral fell silent to honor Wednesday’s victims.

One of the Charlie Hebdo suspects, Cherif Kouachi, was convicted of terrorism in 2008 for being involved in a network sending radical fighters to Iraq. He and his brother, Said, should be considered “armed and dangerous,” French police said in a bulletin Thursday, appealing for witnesses after a fruitless search in the city of Reims, in French Champagne country.

A third man, Mourad Hamyd, 18, surrendered at an eastern police station after learning his name was linked to the attacks in the news, said the Paris prosecutor spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre. She did not specify his relationship to the Kouachi brothers.

 

Source: Yahoo News

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