Manhunt continues for key Paris attack suspect

2015-11-19 07:27
Abdelhamid Abaaoud (AP)

Abdelhamid Abaaoud (AP)

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A European manhunt continued on Thursday for the suspected planner of the Paris attacks, a day after a raid on a French apartment block neutralised an ISIS cell allegedly planning more strikes.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said investigators had not identified the two killed in the operation, adding the main suspect of Friday's attacks - which killed at least 129 people - was not among those arrested. 

"Our raid carried out this morning showed that a new terrorist group was demolished," Molins said. "According to their weapons and equipment, their organisation structure and their determination, we think that they would probably carry out a new round of terrorist attacks." 

The fate of key suspect Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian national, remained unclear on Thursday. Another alleged attacker, Salah Abdeslam, is also on the run.

A female suicide bomber reportedly blew herself up as the raid began.

Molins said eight people, including seven men and a woman, were arrested in Paris' northern suburb of Saint-Denis early on Wednesday.

"Currently, the identities of those arrested in the flat have not been confirmed. But I can say, Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Salah Abdeslam were not among the eight being arrested," said the prosecutor.

Molins said more than 5 000 bullets were fired by police during the operation, which also wounded several people including police. 

Meanwhile, a debate will start on Thursday in the lower house of France's parliament ahead of a vote on whether the state of emergency should be extended for three months.

Police have banned public demonstrations until November 22 in Paris and surrounding towns in the latest utilisation of expanded security measures permitted under the state of emergency installed following last week's bloody attacks.

The ban on marches and other demonstrations on public squares and roadways entered into effect midnight on Wednesday.

Read more on:    france  |  paris under attack

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