UPDATE, THURSDAY: Abdelhamid Abaaoud has been identified as one of the terror suspects killed during yesterday morning’s police raid on an apartment in Paris suburb Saint-Denis. The Paris prosecutor’s office made the official announcement this afternoon local time as cable news nets again provided wall-to-wall coverage.
Abaaoud is believed to be the main architect of last Friday’s attacks on the French capital which left 129 dead and over 350 others wounded. Eight further suspects are still in custody after being arrested Wednesday morning. Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve said today that out of six thwarted terrorist attacks since this spring, Abaaoud appers to have been implicated in four. The National Assembly this morning voted to prolong France’s state of emergency until February.
As Parisians attempt to get back to some semblance of normalcy six days after the attacks, foreign news crews remain camped out at the Place de la République.
UPDATE with more details: An early morning raid by police on an apartment in the North Paris suburb of Saint-Denis dominated media coverage here and continues to do so after ending just over an hour ago. Seven people have been arrested and two are dead, including one woman who detonated an explosive vest. Police were targeting Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind behind Friday’s attacks which killed 129 people in the capital city. His whereabouts reportedly remain unkown. At aboout noon local time, the Saint-Denis municipal government tweeted: “The operation is over BUT the security perimiter is still in place. Do not leave your homes.”
French media coverage has been wall-to-wall in the past few hours on most of the major networks and international news channels with Christiane Amanpour reporting for CNN from the Place de la République.
At about 1 PM local time, President François Hollande addressed a gathering of the mayors of France including Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. The channels broke into their live reports from Saint-Denis to show his speech while BBC News in the UK did the same, although it had previously been broadcasting the Prime Minister’s Questions.
Hollande said the raid in Saint-Denis was aimed at neutralizing the terrorists who were in contact with and connected to the authors of Friday night’s attacks. He said today’s actions “confirm again that we are at war.” He also reiterated that all of France is a victim of Friday’s attacks. “That France represents freedom through successive generations, that it proclaims universal rights. That is what was attacked because these barbarians with their blind violence attacked the French people in their diversity.”
Hollande also noted that he will travel to Washington later this week to meet with President Obama to talk about resolving the war on ISIS.