French police in gunfight with terror groups in Paris; close in on mastermind

18 November 2015

The French police, which has been hunting for terrorists involved in Friday's terror attacks in Paris that killed 129 people, say they have closed-in on suspected mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud,.

In a siege at Saint Denis in the northern Paris suburb, the special police forces have reportedly cornered the suspected mastermind of the Paris terror attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud in an apartment.

They have arrested three suspects, while two including a woman suicide bomber were killed in a shootout with the special police forces.

Firing took place on the second day today when special police forces launched anti-terror operation in Saint Demis in the northern suburbs of Paris.

French police on Tuesday released a photograph of one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up outside the national stadium, appealing for witnesses to provide information.

Investigators have already established that he had been finger-printed by authorities in Greece in October but his identity remains unclear. Near his body was a Syrian passport apparently belonging to a Syrian regime soldier killed several months ago.

Meanwhile, French security sources said that surveillance video shows a possible ninth assailant during Friday's attacks.

The video reportedly shows a third figure in the car carrying the group which attacked several bars and restaurants.

It is not clear if this ninth attacker is one of two suspected accomplices detained in Belgium or is on the run.

French President Francois Hollande will today present plans to extend the state of emergency declared after the attacks across the country by three months.

The new measures proposed by Hollande include changes to the constitution to allow the government to revoke the citizenship of any convicted terrorist of dual nationality and measures to speed up the expulsion of foreign nationals considered a threat to public order.

Meanwhile the European Union's economics commissioner said on Tuesday that the EU executive could offer France leeway on its budget to take into account security priorities in the wake of the Paris attacks.

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