Seven were also arrested in seven-hour raid on a Saint-Denis apartment; Abdelhamid Abaaoud’s fate is unknown
On Friday evening, eight heavily armed gunmen wearing suicide vests opened fire and detonated bombs at locations across Paris, killing at least 129 people and injuring more than 300 in Europe’s deadliest terrorist attack in over a decade. Soon after, the French government declared a state of emergency and put the capital city on lockdown. Residents of Paris were warned not to leave their homes.
On Saturday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the coordinated assaults. A Syrian passport was found near one of the suicide attackers, and a Greek official later told reporters it belonged to a man entered Europe through Greece in October. French President Francois Hollande referred to the massacre as “an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army.”
Hours after the attack, VICE News arrived in Paris to witness a city in mourning. At the Place de la République, reaction to the mass killings was mixed. Some French citizens issued pleas for tolerance and unity in the days ahead. Many expressed fear about future Islamic State attacks. And others argued the shootings would inspire a backlash against the ongoing flow of refugees into Europe.
Watch “Exclusive Interview with ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Cartoonist Luz” – http://bit.ly/1X0kT8W
PARIS—French police named a 29-year-old Frenchman as one of the seven attackers who killed at least 129 people in Paris on Friday and left hundreds wounded.
Police said that Omar Ismail Mostefai was identified from a severed finger found at the Bataclan concert hall, where gunmen killed 89 people before blowing themselves up using explosive belts when police moved in.
French police haven’t yet named any of the other attackers.
At Paris Stadium, Attacker May Have Been Thwarted
Around thirty-six hours after gunmen wreaked havoc at the sports arena, as well as at a concert hall and through Paris’s streets, French officials have begun piecing together the scenario of coordinated attacks.
Another of Friday’s attackers recently entered Europe as a Syrian migrant, people familiar with the matter said, suggesting gaps in the continent’s security as it copes with the biggest refugee crisis in decades.
Service and composite PMI figures out for Europe came out on Thursday and the key takeaway is this — Germany is driving Europe forward, while France is dragging us back.
The overall Eurozone PMI beat forecasts.
The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) is a measure of whether economies and sectors are expanding or contracting. Anything above 50 signals growth, while anything below signals contraction.
Europe’s PMI was 54.3, against a forecast of 54.1. That was driven by Germany beating forecasts by a big margin — an upward revision of an entire point (54 to 55).
We already had a positive flash readings for August, but Germany is doing even better than first thought.
France, meanwhile, is doing much worse. France’s flash PMI was 51.3, but today that got revised way down to 50.2 — more or less stagnation and dangerously close to slipping into decline.
We’ve already had dreadful manufacturing figures from France earlier this week, with French industry shrinking faster than expected. The service sector is similarly in a worse shape than economists expected — the PMI there was just 50.6, against a forecast of 51.8.
It’s not looking good for France.
That effectively means we’re looking at a two-tier Europe, one where the two biggest players are moving in completely different gears.
Right now the “single market” can trundle along as it has been. But this imbalance could cause serious problems further down the line, particularly given Germany has so much power in Europe and a tendency to push tough reforms on those foolish enough to fall into trouble. I made this point when the manufacturing numbers came out.
Here’s the breakdown of the PMI figures we got from Markit today:
- Europe: composite — 54.3, forecast 54.1; services — 54.4, forecasts 54.3.
- Spain: services — 59.6, in-line with forecasts.
- Italy: services — 54.6, beating forecast of 53.
- France: composite — 50.2, flash was 51.3; services — 50.6, 51.8 predicted; .
- Germany: composite — 55, flash 54 — services — 54.9, 53.6 predicted.
The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: French authorities clear out a Roma camp, Nigerians remember their missing schoolgirls, Pakistani women increasingly join the military, and Thailand will send Indonesian orangutans home.
Authorities Evacuate Roma Camp North of Paris
More than 200 people were evicted from the site near La Courneuve.
‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Campaigners March 500 Days After Abductions
The group staged a youth walk in Abuja to mark the date.
Women Join Armed Forces in Greater Numbers
Female enrollment in the air service has tripled in the last seven years.
Orangutans to be Repatriated to Indonesia
The apes were found on the side of the road in Phuket in 2010.
Check out VICE News for more: http://vicenews.com
Police investigate incident near Arras, France, in which three US citizens – two of them soldiers – prevented attack by suspect reportedly armed with AK-47
A heavily armed gunman has opened fire on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris before being overpowered by three US citizens, two of whom were soldiers.
Two people were injured in the attack, including one of the Americans, who was admitted to hospital with serious injuries to his hand that needed surgery.
Barack Obama described the men as heroic following the attack on Friday.
A British passenger, Chris Norman, helped the Americans tie up the suspect, and French anti-terrorist police are now questioning him. He was arrested after the train made an emergency stop at Arras, near the French-Belgian border.
The suspect’s motive was not immediately known, but French prosecutors said counter-terrorism investigators were launching an inquiry. According to early briefings, the gunman, 26, was known to French intelligence services and was Moroccan or of Moroccan origin.
Belgian prosecutors said on Saturday they had formally opened an anti-terrorism investigation. “We have opened an inquiry as the suspect boarded the train in Brussels,” Eric van der Sypt, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said.
The shooting happened just before 6pm in the last carriage of the train, which was carrying 554 passengers. The man had several weapons in his luggage, including a Kalashnikov, an automatic pistol and razor blades.
Two of the Americans were in the military, their travelling companion and childhood friend Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, said.
The one injured was named as air force serviceman Spencer Stone from Sacramento, California. The other was Alek Skarlatos, of Roseburg, Oregon.
“We heard a gunshot and we heard glass breaking behind us and saw a train employee sprint past us down the aisle,” Sadler said. The trio then saw a gunman entering the carriage with an automatic rifle, he added.
“As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells: ‘Spencer, go!’ and Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler said. “Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”
The United States National Security Agency spied on French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, WikiLeaks said in a press statement published on Tuesday, citing top secret intelligence reports and technical documents.
The revelations were first reported in French daily Liberation and on news website Mediapart, which said the NSA spied on the presidents during a period of at least 2006 until May 2012, the month Hollande took over from Sarkozy.
WikiLeaks said the documents derived from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications of Hollande (2012–present), Sarkozy (2007–2012) and Chirac (1995–2007), as well as French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the U.S.
According to the documents, Sarkozy is said to have considered restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks without U.S. involvement and Hollande feared a Greek euro zone exit back in 2012.
These latest revelations regarding spying among allied Western countries come after it emerged that the NSA had spied on Germany and Germany’s own BND intelligence agency had cooperated with the NSA to spy on officials and companies elsewhere in Europe.
“The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in the statement, adding that more “important revelations” would soon follow.
The documents include summaries of conversations between French government officials on the global financial crisis, the future of the European Union, the relationship between Hollande’s administration and Merkel’s government, French efforts to determine the make-up of the executive staff of the United Nations, and a dispute between the French and U.S. governments over U.S. spying on France.
The documents also contained the cell phone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysee presidential palace including the direct cell phone of the president, WikiLeaks said.
Last week, WikiLeaks published more than 60,000 diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia and said on its website it would release half a million more in the coming weeks.
While much attention has been paid stateside to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s public threat to sue Fox News this week, less focus has been given to the network’s ridiculous behavior that prompted the call to begin with.
But here in Paris, Fox’s claims of the existence of Islamist-run “no-go zones,” here and in other areas in Europe, have been lampooned with relish.
Reeling in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Paris-based newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher market, the French equivalent of the David Letterman show, “Le Petit Journal,” managed to convey some much-needed comic relief to a national prime-time TV audience in France where much of the country grieved.
The Petit Journal’s broadcast of the Parisian neighborhoods could not have more patently depicted the absurdity of Fox’s portrayal of Paris, where, in reality, people of different ages, religions and ethnic origins freely go about their business, running errands, pushing strollers, etc.
Le Petit Journal correspondents were shown visiting the “no-go zones,” prompting guffaws from both the live studio audience and the incredulous passersby who were asked if their safe streets were comparable to those in Iraq or Afghanistan, if they ever saw someone wear bin Laden T-shirts, or other absurd questions. The U.S. equivalent would be asking people on the streets in Manhattan if Shariah law was the law of the streets there.
In another broadcast, Le Petit Journal cast members dressed up like U.S. journalists ventured into the “Most Dangerous City in the Universe.” They confronted such dangerous situations as a man with a “terrorist beard” driving a taxi or the site of a couscous restaurant. The sounds of a jackhammer are taken for gunfire as the fake TV reporter rolls on the ground in terror.
Somehow an event that the French didn’t even announce until Friday had quickly gathered momentum, drawing about three dozen foreign leaders to Paris to express their outrage at the killings of French citizens at a satire magazine and a Jewish supermarket last week. America’s representative, Ambassador Jane Hartley, looked a little out of place.
White House aides were so caught off guard by the march’s massive size and attention that they hadn’t even asked President Barack Obama if he wanted to go.
So by Monday morning, the intensity of criticism was so fierce that the aides knew they had to apologize. The media, they felt, had constructed a problem. This time, though, they thought the media might have a point. But they were also counting on the low-attention-span White House press corps to move on as soon as they gave in.
It was so obvious, they didn’t even go to Obama for sign-off.