by James Corbett and the corbettreport.com community
November 14, 2015
A series of attacks in and around Paris on Friday night left 129 dead and 352 wounded. The attacks included three explosions at the Stade de France, a siege of the Bataclan theatre, and shootings/bombings at restaurants throughout the city.
French President François Hollande did not waste time in blaming the attacks definitively on the Islamic State. In an address to the nation on Saturday he declared: “It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France,” adding, “It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish.” His speech did not indicate how he knows what the investigation would conclude before it was conducted.
Five of the attackers have now been publicly identified, and another, Salah Abdeslam, has reportedly been taken alive in Belgium after a confrontation with police. There are now thought to be as many as 20 accomplices who were involved in the events. At least one of them was reportedly already known to French security before the attack. The suspected “ringleader” of the attack, Abdelhamid Abaaoud (who had miraculously evaded a police dragnet in Athens in January) is being touted as the link between ISIS leadership and operatives in Europe.
The French government has responded with a series of actions, including declaring a state of emergency and locking down the borders, shutting down all public facilities in Paris, conducting over 150 raids across the country and beginning a series of airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria. France is set to propose a suspension of the EU’s Schengen Agreement on open borders at a summit this Friday.
President Hollande is now calling for French Parliament to amend the constitution:
Mr. Hollande called for quick action by the Parliament on new legislation that would give the government more flexibility to conduct police raids without a warrant and place people under house arrest. He said he would seek court approval for broader surveillance powers. And he called for constitutional amendments that would give more weight to security measures relative to civil liberties.
Much has been made of a Syrian passport allegedly recovered from the vicinity of the body of one of the gunmen. Greece’s deputy minister in charge of police, Nikos Toskas, issued a statement asserting that “The holder of the passport passed through the island of Leros on Oct. 3, 2015, where he was identified according to EU rules,” but an unidentified “US intelligence official” told CBS News the passport may be fake, citing incorrect numbers and a mismatching picture.
The attacks were preceded Friday afternoon by bomb threats against the Gare de Lyon railway station and the Hotel Molitor where the German national soccer team were staying. Friday also happened to be the day of a “multi-site attack exercise” in Paris that included “police forces, firemen, EMTs, and others,” according to Patrick Pelloux, an emergency physician and former Charlie Hebdo columnist who was also mobilized in response to the Hebdo shootings in January.
Meanwhile SOFREP is reporting that the attacks were known about in advance, as French national police were meeting with “the German BKA federal police and BND federal intelligence service to discuss an imminent pre-planned terrorist attack in Paris” two weeks ago. This information lines up with newly released details of an arrest of a 51 year old Montenegrin that took place on November 5th in Germany. The man was reportedly found to be transporting AK-47s, hand grenades, TNT, and was apparently headed to France.
Iraqi intelligence, meanwhile, warned French authorities of an imminent attack and provided specific details about the operation that the French government has yet to make public. This includes the claim that the attack was planned in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, and included 24 people, including attackers and accomplices.
News about the attacks and international reaction is still coming in. Corbett Report members are asked to supply links to relevant information and contribute to its analysis in the comment section below. This article will be updated as that information is compiled and discussed.
Serbian police have arrested a man carrying a Syrian passport with the same details as one found near the body of one of the Paris suicide bombers, police sources told the Guardian.
The passport bears the same name and details – but a different photograph – as the document found near one of the men who attacked the Stade de France.
Serbian officials said that they believe both passports are fake, but added that they are working with French investigators to establish the origin of the documents.
French police found a passport in the name of Ahmad Almohammad, 25, near the body of one of the men who attacked France’s national football stadium on Friday.
On 7 October, a man using the passport had arrived on the small Greek island of Leros and registered as a refugee, before traveling on through Serbia and Croatia before entering France.
But on Saturday, a different man using a second passport with the same details was discovered in a Presovo refugee centre, according to the Serbian newspaper Blic.
Serbian police sources said that they believed both passports were fake and were acquired in the border area between Syria and Turkey. According to the source, French authorities contacted Serbian officials for assistance as Serbia maintains a detailed register of all refugees who pass through its borders.
Serbian security services are also in communication with authorities in Bosnia and Republika Srpska, monitoring the activities of alleged Isis sympathisers around the Bosnian village Gornja Maocha (Gornja Maoča).
“There could be a possible link for transferring terrorists for Vienna and further, and we know that is the path the Paris terrorist took,” a Serbian police source told the Guardian.
The French authorities have not confirmed whether the fingerprints of the man who registered as Almohammad in Leros match any of the attackers’ remains.
After registering in Greece, Almohammad moved on to Macedonia. On 7 October, he registered in Presovo (Serbia) where he sought asylum. Then on 8 October, he registered in Opatovac (Croatia). He stayed in Croatia for six hours and from there he crossed into Hungary and then Austria.
Serbian state broadcaster RTS said that Slovenia and Austria have agreed to close their borders. The television network said on Monday that Serbia’s bureau for coordination of security services would meet on Tuesday evening to discuss its border situation.
In the wake of the attacks, right-leaning European politicians – including France’s Marine le Pen – said that the country should immediately stop admitting refugees.
Several US governors have made similar calls, though only the federal government can halt this action. US president Barack Obama said he hopes to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country in the next 12 months.
Speaking at a G20 press conference in Turkey on Monday, Obama said: “The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism. They are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. They are parents. They are children. They are orphans and it is very important … that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.”
Reblogged on WordPress.com
Reblogged on WordPress.com
Source: President al-Assad to French delegation: “We offer our condolences to the French families that lost dear members … we have been suffering from this kind of terrorism for the last five years in Syria … Terrorist attacks on Paris can’t be separated from those of Beirut and events in Syria” ~ French politicians call on their government to reconsider its foreign policy, relation with Syria