Paris attacks: One suicide bomber identified as investigations ramp up – CNN
One attacker identified as French
The news agency Agence France-Presse reported that Mostefai was the same attacker who was described Saturday by Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, something CNN has not confirmed independently.
Molins, who did not identify the attacker by name, said he was a 29-year-old French citizen with a criminal record from the southern Paris suburbs.
The attacker was involved in the assault and hostage taking at the Bataclan concert hall, where the highest number people were killed Friday, according to the prosecutor.
The man, who was identified by fingerprints, was believed to have been radicalized in 2010 but had never been accused of terrorism, Molins said.
Agnès Thibault Lecuivre, the Paris prosecutor’s spokeswoman, told CNN that six people — all family relatives of Mostefaï — have been detained.
It is common practice in criminal cases in France to place family members in custody. Mostefaï’s relatives have been neither charged nor arrested.
Raids in France, Belgium
As investigations into the attacks gathered speed Saturday, authorities detained people in France and Belgium.
In Belgium, raids were conducted in a Brussels suburb, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Sieghild Lacoere said. A car rented in Brussels was found near one of the sites of the Paris attacks, which triggered the raids, Lacoere said.
At least one of the raids was connected to the Paris attacks, according to a Western intelligence source who is in contact with French and Belgian intelligence services. The other raids were connected to people known to Belgian intelligence, the source told CNN.
Some of the Paris attackers were also known to Belgium intelligence, the source said.
Also Saturday, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported that the father and a brother of one of the attackers had been taken into custody. And AFP reported that the two men were detained after police raided their homes 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of Paris. CNN has not independently verified that the men were picked up by authorities.
A man who rented a VW Polo used by terrorists at the Bataclan was intercepted at the border with Belgium, according to Molins, the Paris prosecutor. The man, who was driving a different vehicle when he was caught, is a French citizen living in Belgium and was accompanied by two other people, Molins said.
‘An act of war’
French President Francois Hollande has called the shootings and bombings, some of which targeted an international soccer game he was attending, “an act of war.” He has vowed merciless revenge on ISIS, which France is already bombing in Iraq and Syria as part of the U.S-led coalition against the militant group.
The French government has declared a state of emergency and announced three days of mourning for the victims of Friday’s bloodshed.
The violence that hit six different sites around Paris has deepened the trauma for Parisians, who had already been shaken by a series of terrorist attacks in January that left 17 people dead.
People were still out around the city Saturday, some posing for selfies along the Seine and stealing a kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower. But the tower itself — like many other tourist attractions, shops and public buildings — has been closed in the aftermath of the attacks.
Fears terror isn’t over
Security has been stepped up, with military reinforcements drafted in.
There has been an outpouring of support and solidarity in Paris but large gatherings in the streets have not materialized, partly because the state of emergency prohibits them.
Sadness and fear are taking a toll, Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman said.
“We don’t know yet if this terror in fact is over or not,” he told CNN, highlighting the jitters caused by unsubstantiated rumors circulating on social media.
In addition to the 129 people killed in Paris, 352 were injured, at least 99 seriously, Molins said Saturday.
The dead include many French citizens, three Chileans, two Belgians, two Mexicans, two Spaniards, two Portuguese, an American and a Briton.
Questions over passports found near attackers
In an online statement distributed by supporters Saturday, ISIS said eight militants wearing explosive belts and armed with machine guns attacked selected areas in the French capital.
Seven of the terrorists were killed, mostly by blowing themselves up, according to French officials. The attackers are believed to have operated in three teams.
The scale and coordination of Friday’s wave of deadly assaults inside a major Western city, coming soon after ISIS’ claim of taking down a Russian airliner in Egypt, appear to represent a deeply disturbing increase in the extremist group’s capabilities.
A Syrian passport belonging to a 25-year-old man was found near the body of an attacker outside one of the targeted sites, the Stade de France, where the soccer game was being played, French authorities said.
The passport belonged to a person who had been processed on the Greek island of Leros, Greek Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Nikos Toskas said Saturday. Officials are still examining the passport to determine if it is legitimate and whether it belonged to one of the attackers, U.S. law enforcement officials told CNN.
A source close to the investigation told CNN that an Egyptian passport was found on another attacker. “There is strong assumption that these passports are fake,” the source said.
U.S. officials say they are waiting for corroboration from DNA and fingerprint tests to help positively identify the attackers, something that will take some time.
The FBI is running through databases an initial batch of names that could be those of the attackers or people associated with them, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. So far none of those names are known to the United States as terrorism suspects, the officials said.