Paris Terrorists' Escape Vehicle Found; Gunman Identified; Obama Promises Crack Down - The Latest Update

Two days after the worst terrorist attack in Europe in a decade, the missing pieces are starting to fall into place. Here is a recap of the latest developments over the past 24 hours.

  • One of assailants in Bataclan concert hall attacks has been identified.

Police have identified the first assailant linked with the Bataclan concert hall massacre where gunmen killed at least 89 people before blowing themselves up when police moved in, as Omar Ismail Mostefai, who was identified from his severed finger.

The 29-year-old was one of three men who blew himself up killing 89 people in the bloodiest scene of the carnage. Six people close to Mostefai are in custody, including his brother, father and sister-in-law.  Mostefai is a French citizen with a criminal record and was known to security services, but never spent time in jail, Sky News reported. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told Sky News Mr Mostefai had been found guilty eight times for a series of petty crimes from 2004 to 2010, but spent no time in jail. Mr Molins also claimed that Mr Mostefai had been blacklisted by the police as a target for radicalisation in 2010.

The Mail adds that one of attackers was allegedly a woman  Survivors have claimed that a woman was among the group 8 shooting randomly into the crowd at the Eagles of Death Metal gig before three blew themselves up and a fourth person was shot dead by police before they could detonate their bomb. More at the WSJ.

  • A stash of Kalashnikov rifles was found in a getaway vehicle believed to have been used in the Paris attacks.

Several Kalashnikov rifles have been found in a second car the gunmen used to fire at people in restaurants French TV channel BFMTV reported. The black Seat Leon was located on the Rue Edouard Vaillant in the city's eastern suburb of Montreuil. An alert had been issued about the vehicle, warning the public not to approach it due to fears it may have been rigged with explosives. The first terrorist vehicle was discovered on Saturday.

The discovery suggests that after the attack this group of terrorists tried to flee the capital, possibly dropping off a suicide bomber near Place de La Nation who went on to blow himself up at a cafe near Boulevard Voltaire. As Telegraph notes, according to police sources the attackers may have switched cars and fled in another vehicle probably towards Belgium - where three suspects were later arrested.
The three in Belgium had been stopped by chance by police near the border.

As Telegraph further notes, a middle-aged local woman said she was told by neighbours that a Belgian woman who lived nearby had spotted the car and noticed it had a Belgian number plate, report Lexi Finnigan and Patrick Sawer. "She's Belgian herself and she thought it was a bit odd because she hadn't seen the car in the street before," she said. "I am told she looked inside and noticed what looked like weapons in the back. That's when she contacted the police. "They came and took the car away but you can still see the smashed glass all over the street where it was." More at the Independent.

  • Holder of allegedly fake Syrian passport "found" near body of gunman sought asylum in Syria.

The most surprising story line emerging from the Paris attack to date is the story of a Syrian passport "found" near the body of one of the assailants. While we will shorly report an odd development that, according to French police, the passport may have been fake and thus planted to make it seem like the terrorist was Syrian, moments ago the Serbian Interior Ministry said that the passport holder had passed through Serbia last month where he sought asylum, the Serbian Interior Ministry said. "One of the suspected terrorists, A.A., who is of interest to the French security agencies, was registered on the Presevo border crossing on October 7 this year, where he formally sought asylum," the ministry said in a statement Reuters reported. The full name of the perp has been since revealed to be Ahmed Almuhamed.

The Presevo border crossing separates Serbia from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). "Checks have confirmed that his details match those of the person who on October 3 was identified in Greece. There was no Interpol warrant issued against this person. More at 9news.

  • Obama vows to 'redouble' fight against Islamic State jihadists.

Obama, who has been speaking on the sidelines of the G20 summit taking place in Turkey today, after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the following: "we will redouble our efforts working with other members of the coalition to bring about a peaceful transition in Syria and to eliminate Daesh as a force that can create so much pain and suffering for people in Paris and Ankara and other parts of the globe."

He added that "The killing of innocent people based on a twisted ideology is an attack not just on France, not just on Turkey but it is an attack on the civilised world... As we, I am sure, each said to President Hollande and the French people, we stand in solidarity with them in hunting down the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice," Obama told reporters after the meeting with Turkey's leader. Agence France-Press has more.

  • European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker urges Europe not to rethink its refugee policy

After the Friday terrorist attacks there has been an substantial push to limit or even halt Europe's refugee policy. However, Jean Claude-Juncker, the European Commission head, has urged Europe not to rethink its policy on refugees after the Paris attack. Speaking on the sidelines of a G20 summit of world leaders in the Turkish coastal province of Antalya, Juncker said: "The one responsible for the attacks in Paris... he is a criminal and not a refugee and not an asylum seeker. I would invite those in Europe who try to change the migration agenda we have adopted - I would like to remind them to be serious about this and not to give in to these basic reactions that I do not like. Agence France-Press has more.

  • Merkel's Bavarian Allies pressure Merkel on Refugees

Juncker's push to preserve the status quo will be an uphill climb. Earlier on Sunday, Merkel's Bavarian allies cranked up pressure on the German Chancellor to reverse her "open-door" refugee policy, saying the deadly attacks in Paris underlined the need for tougher measures to control the influx of migrants.  "The days of uncontrolled immigration and illegal entry can't continue just like that. Paris changes everything," Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.  His comments came after Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, leader of Merkel's sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), had urged better protection of Germany's frontier and called for stricter controls at Europe's external borders. Reuters has more.

  • France may send ground "expeditionary force" to Syria in retaliation: Stratfor

France may send its "expeditionary force" to Syria in order to retaliate against ISIL, according to the US-based intelligence firm Stratfor.  They claimed that France has a whole array of options for retaliation "at its disposal", but that the country's response will depend on "who was ultimately responsible" for the Friday attacks. "If it is found that the Islamic State core group was indeed behind the November 13 attack, France will likely ramp up its Syrian air operations," Stratfor said.  At the same time, Stratfor analysts recalled that "the skies over Syria are already congested with coalition and Russian aircraft," which is why France may intensify its military operation against the Islamic State group in Iraq or other countries, including in Libya, according to Stratfor. Sputnik has more.

  • ISIS Jihadist blows himself up in Turkey, five policemen injured

A suspected Islamic State jihadist blew himself up in southeastern Turkey near the Syrian border during a police raid, injuring five officers, one seriously, officials said Sunday. The suspect detonated explosives when police raided an apartment building in the town of Gaziantep suspected of being a jihadist hideout, the governor's office said in a statement. The raid was conducted as part of the investigation into a double suicide bombing on October 10 in Ankara that killed 102 activists gathering for a peace rally, Turkish media said. The attack came as leaders gathered in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, 500 kilometres (300 miles) to the west, for a G20 summit where the fight against terrorism was a major discussion point, following this weekend's Paris attacks. AFP has more.


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