French parliament extends state of emergency
The French National Assembly voted Nov. 19 to extend the state of emergency for another three months. The state of emergency expands police power for searches and arrests, and allows authorities to restrict movement of individuals and vehicles with the country's borders. During the debate, Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that France must be prepared to defend against chemical and biological warfare. The bill secured 551 votes with only six against, far surpassing the 279 necessary to pass the legislation through the chamber. The bill will now move to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.
Paris' chief prosecutor François Molins reported the day after the attack that several arrests had already been made, and numerous raids have since been conducted in France and Belgium.
[The ringleader in the Paris attack is named as Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian national of Moroccan background who is also believed to have traveled to Syria, and had been on the run since escaping a police raid in Verviers, Belgium, in January. He was killed in a police raid in the northern Paris suburb of St.-Denis Nov. 18. Also killed in the raid was a woman who opened fire on police and then detonated a suicide vest. Officials have identified her as Hasna Aitboulahcen, 26, a cousin of Abaaoud. (NYT, CNN, The Guardian) Belgian police staged six raids Nov. 19 in the Brussels area linked to a suicide bomber who blew himself up outside the French national stadium, named as Bilal Hadfi, 20. The raids—targeting Hadfi's family and friends—were in the suburbs of Uccle, Jette and Molenbeek, which is "dubbed a haven for extremists." Investigators say Hadfi was a French national who was living in Belgium and had spent time in Syria. (AFP) The Syrian passport found near the body of one of the slain assailants is noe belived to be a forgery. The five of the eight assailants that have thus far been idenitified are all EU nationals. (WP)]
Organized in three teams, terrorists reportedly connected to the Islamic State perpetrated attacks on six different targets in and around Paris on Nov. 13. The attacks began with a suicide bombing at the Stade de France around 9:20 PM local time. Soon thereafter, assailants riding in a Seat brand car opened fire on individuals outside cafes around Paris. At around 9:40 PM, assailants fired on concert-goers at the Bataclan concert hall, killing 89. Molins said that these assailants were using "war-type weapons" and explosives, further indicating association with ISIS. Speaking about the attacks generally, French President François Hollande called them "an act of war," and vowed that the French "will lead the fight, and we will be ruthless." A UN rights expert also commented this week that the attacks may amount to crimes against humanity. It is yet unclear if France will invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty to call on allies to help fight IS, as the US did in the wake of 9-11.
From Jurist, Nov. 18. Used with permission.
Note: Speaking during a joint session of parliament, Hollande said the French constitution needed to be amended, as "we need an appropriate tool we can use without having to resort to the state of emergency." (BBC News)
Belgium charges fourth in Paris attacks
Belgian prosecutors said Nov. 23 that they have charged a fourth suspect in connection with the Paris attacks. Mohammed Amri and Hamza Attou have been charged, along with two unnamed individuals, for aiding Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, who remains at large. The four individuals charged were among 16 arrested as police conducted 22 raids the previous day throughout Brussels and Charleroi. Brussels remains under the highest security threat level with schools and transportation systems inactive, but they are expected to reopen on this week. (Jurist)