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France extends state of emergency after Paris massacre

By Staff Reporter

Published 21/11/2015

Mastermind: Abdelhamid Abaaoud
Mastermind: Abdelhamid Abaaoud

France's Senate has voted to extend a state of emergency for three months after last week's deadly terror attacks.

The measure expands police powers to carry out arrests and searches and allows authorities to forbid the movement of persons and vehicles. France's lower chamber had already approved the measure.

The vote in the Senate took place a week after extremists attacked a concert hall, stadium and cafes and restaurants, killing 130 people and wounding hundreds.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Earlier, authorities revealed a third body had been found in an apartment raided by police searching for suspects connected to the terror attacks.

The prosecutors' office said in a statement that the body found in a flat in Saint-Denis was a woman whose identity remains unclear.

Authorities have identified one of the three killed in Wednesday's raid on the apartment as the suspected mastermind of the Paris massacre, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

The body of Belgian extremist Abaaoud (27) was found in the building targeted on Wednesday and was identified from skin samples, the prosecutor's office said.

Abaaoud ended up near Paris after travelling from Syria.

Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said France had not known Abaaoud was in Europe, but added that he was believed to have been behind four of six attacks thwarted since spring.

Another woman who died in the police raid - Abaaoud's cousin, Hasna Aitboulahcen - was thought to have been Europe's first suicide bomber.

But last night reports emerged indicating that she was killed when a male member of the Islamic terror gang detonated his suicide vest.

Prior to the raid, Abaaoud was seen on a surveillance camera in a subway at around the time of Friday's shootings and bombings.

A French security official said the extremist was at the Croix de Chavaux metro station in the suburb of Montreuil at 10.14pm on November 13.

Teams of attackers started the violence at 9.20pm at the Stade de France,then began firing on cafes in the city a few minutes later.

The metro station where Abaaoud was seen is near where police found a car believed to have been used by the fanatics.

French authorities said police had conducted 793 raids since last week's attacks. On Thursday night alone, officers carried out 182 raids, detaining 17 people and seizing 76 weapons and drugs.

After five nights of raids, the interior ministry said police had detained 90 people and taken away 174 weapons, including 18 military-style firearms, 84 rifles and 68 handguns.

In addition, 164 people were placed under house arrest thanks to the powers permitted under France's state of emergency. Police also seized €250,000.

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