vendredi 20 novembre 2015

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected of planning Paris carnage, is dead

Last Updated Nov 19, 2015 11:57 PM EST 

PARIS -- The Belgian extremist suspected of masterminding the deadly attacks in Paris died along with his cousin when police stormed a suburban apartment building, French officials said Thursday, a day after the chaotic, bloody raid.

Police found Abdelhamid Abaaoud's body Wednesday in the apartment building in Saint-Denis, but it took some time to identify the 27-year-old using his fingerprints. It was not clear how he died.
Officials believed Abaaoud was in Syria and it's not clear how he ended up near Paris. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said France did not know before Friday's deadly attacks that Abaaoud was in Europe.

A country outside of Europe tipped off Paris on Monday that Abaaoud had been spotted in Greece, Cazeneuve said, but he did not say when exactly Abaaoud was believed to have been there.

He had bragged in the English-language magazine for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, that he was able to slip in and out of Europe undetected.

Authorities have not detailed Abaaoud's exact whereabouts in the days leading up to or actions during the deadly rampage that killed 129 people and injured hundreds of others last week at cafes, a rock concert and the national stadium.

Three police officials have told The Associated Press that a woman who died in the police raid Wednesday was Abaaoud's cousin. One said the woman, Hasna Aitboulahcen, is believed to have detonated a suicide vest in the building after a brief conversation with police officers. It was not clear if she had any role in the attacks.

The official confirmed an audio recording, punctuated by gunshots, in which an officer asks: "Where is your boyfriend?" and she responds angrily: "He's not my boyfriend!" Then loud bangs are heard.

The bodies recovered in the raid were badly mangled, with part of Aitboulahcen's spine landing on a police car, slowing down the identification process, according to one of the officials.

The three all spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to divulge details of the investigation.

French police launched the operation after receiving information from tapped phone calls, surveillance and tipoffs suggesting that Abaaoud was holed up in the apartment.

The Paris prosecutor's office said the eight people detained during the raid would stay in custody for at least another day.

Authorities said five men in the apartment building were taken into custody, and a woman and two other men, including the man whose apartment was used as the cell's hideout, were arrested on a nearby street.

Under French law, officials can detain suspects for up to 96 hours without charges.
"We can't cry 'victory over terrorism,'" said Michel Thooris, secretary-general for the France Police labor union. "The situation is far more complex than one bad guy."

"It's a good thing, but we don't think the entire network has been taken down," he said.

Cazenueve said Thursday that Abaaoud was believed to be behind four of six attacks thwarted since spring by French authorities, including a planned April attack on a church in the Parisian suburb of Villejuif that was foiled when the would-be attacker shot himself in the foot and another on a high-speed train where three young Americans tackled a heavily armed man.

No one was killed in the train attack, but the would-be church attacker was blamed for the death of a woman found shot in her car.

Also Thursday, authorities in Belgium said they had detained nine people during as many raids in and around Brussels relating to the Paris attacks or one of the suicide bombers. There were already two suspects in custody charged with terrorist murder and belonging to a terrorist group.

An official in the Belgian federal prosecutor's office told the AP the raids were taking place in the suburb of Molenbeek, where Abaaoud lived, and other areas of Brussels. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

Molenbeek, an impoverished part of Brussels home to thousands of migrants and with low employment rates, has been called by experts a terrorist's dream, an intersection of the criminal and jihadi worlds where guns, explosives and drugs are readily available.

CBS News' Allen Pizzey has reported from Molenbeek that Abaaoud was raised and likely radicalized there during a short stint in jail for petty crime as a young man.

The raids were carried out as the hunt for one of the suspected Paris attackers continued. Salah Abdeslam, believed to have been one of three men who opened fire on diners and drinkers at restaurants and cafes in central Paris Friday, remained on the loose. One of his brothers blew himself up outside a restaurant that night.

Speaking on French TV Thursday night, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said French authorities don't know if Abdeslam is still in France.

Valls said his country was under a "long and permanent threat" and that he "owes the truth" to the French people, stressing that investigators don't know whether there are other extremist cells that are still "active. It's probable."

Valls also said that authorities have ordered 157 people under house arrest since the attacks and have conducted 600 raids targeting Islamic extremists.

With France still reeling from the attacks, France's lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, voted Thursday to extend a state of emergency for three months. The measure now goes to the Senate, where it likely will be approved Friday.

The state of emergency expands police powers to carry out arrests and searches, and allows authorities to forbid the movement of people and vehicles at specific times and places.
Valls had pressed for the extension, warning that Islamic extremists might use chemical or biological weapons.

"Terrorism hit France not because of what it is doing in Iraq and Syria ... but for what it is," Valls told lawmakers. "We know that there could also be a risk of chemical or biological weapons."
Valls did not say there was a specific threat against France involving such weapons, however.
Later Thursday Cazeneuve said he had requested a meeting of European interior and justice ministers Friday in Brussels to discuss the fight against terrorism.

"Everyone must understand that it is urgent for Europe to recover, get organized and defend itself against the terrorist threat," Cazeneuve said.

Elsewhere in Europe, jittery leaders and law enforcement moved to protect their citizens as Rob Wainwright, director of the European Union's police coordination agency Europol, warned of "a very serious escalation" of the terror threat in Europe.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius urged the international community to do more to eradicate ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Fabius, speaking on France-Inter radio, said the group "is a monster. But if all the countries in the world aren't capable of fighting against 30,000 people (ISIS members), it's incomprehensible."

France has stepped up its airstrikes against extremists in Syria, and French military spokesman Col. Gilles Jaron said Thursday that French forces have destroyed 35 ISIS targets in Syria since the attacks on Paris.

French President Francois Hollande is going to Washington and Moscow next week to push for a stronger international coalition against ISIS.

Francois Molins, the Paris prosecutor, said Wednesday that investigators found a cellphone in a garbage can outside the Bataclan concert hall in eastern Paris where 89 attack victims died. It contained a text message sent about 20 minutes after the massacre began. "We're off, it's started," it read.

Molins said investigators were still trying to identify the recipient of the message.
Seven of the Paris attackers died on the same night as the attacks. French authorities have said most of the attackers - five have been identified so far - were unknown to them. But a U.S. law enforcement source told CBS News that most of those identified were on the U.S. no-fly list, CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports.

The source said that seven of the eight identified attackers were known to either French or U.S. intelligence before Friday's attacks, Milton reports.

The source also said that six of the eight attackers went from France to Syria and then returned to France, Milton reports.

French security forces have conducted 414 raids, making 60 arrests and seizing 75 weapons, including 11 military-style firearms.

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

lundi 19 janvier 2015

Contre le terrorisme, les polices européennes reconsidèrent leurs armes

To Counter Terror, Europe's Police Reconsider Their Arms

samedi 10 janvier 2015

Michel Thooris répond à Associated Press

French prime minister acknowledges "failings" in preventing three-day spree of horror

PARIS (AP) — France's prime minister on Friday acknowledged "failings" in intelligence that led to a three-day spree of horror and at least 20 people dead, though security experts noted the difficulties in preventing attacks when potential terrorists number in the thousands on official watch lists.

There has been mounting criticism of French police and intelligence agents for not intervening before Wednesday's attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. One of the chief suspects had been convicted on terrorism charges and the other is believed to have linked up with al-Qaida forces while in Yemen. Both were on the U.S. no-fly list, according to a senior U.S. official, because of their links to terrorist movements.
"There was a failing, of course," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on BFM television. "That's why we have to analyze what happened."

Michel Thooris, secretary-general of the France Police labor union, called the French attack a "breakdown" in security. Somewhere along the line the suspects fell through the cracks, he said: either the judicial system not sentencing them strongly enough, or a failure in police surveillance. "This was a military strike against civilians by individuals at war, in a country at peace," he said.

Many observers tend to blame poor police work in these types of attacks. They note that the French suspects were on police radar, as were two radical Islamists who killed British soldier Lee Rigby in London in 2013.

Réactions de Michel Thooris dans le New York Times

French Probe Terror Suspect Links; New Attacks May Be Ahead

PARIS — What started as a hunt for two terror suspects grew into something worse — fears of a nest of terrorists that could strike again in the heart of Paris. The suspects in three attacks knew each other, had been linked to previous terrorist activities, and one had fought or trained with al-Qaida in Yemen, which claimed ownership Friday of this week's newspaper massacre.
Investigators are now trying to determine to what extent the attacks were coordinated.
The Kouachi brothers had been the subject of a vast manhunt following the armed attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly that claimed 12 lives on Wednesday. The brothers died Friday when police attacked the building near Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris where they had barricaded themselves.
An acquaintance of at least one of the Kouachis, Amedy Coulibaly, 32, was identified as the suspected killer of a policewoman in suburban Paris the previous day —and as the man armed with a semi-automatic rifle who opened fire Friday in a kosher market near Paris' Porte de Vincennes and holed up with hostages there.
He threatened to kill his captives if the Kouachis weren't freed. Like the brothers, he was killed when police moved in.
According to French judicial documents obtained by The Associated Press, the connections among the terrorist suspects date back to 2010, when Coulibaly was sentenced to five years in prison for an abortive attempt to free another terrorist from prison. Smain Ait Ali Belkacem was serving a life sentence for a bombing attack on the Paris rapid transit system in 1995.
Cherif Kouachi, 32, the younger of the brothers, was detained in that investigation, but freed later without being tried. A former pizza deliveryman, he appeared in a 2005 French TV documentary on Islamic extremism and was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for trying to join up with fighters battling in Iraq.
The French judicial documents said Coulibaly and the younger Kouachi knew each another, and traveled with their wives in 2010 to central France to visit a radical Islamist, Djamel Beghal, who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison on a terrorism-related charge.
Police issued a bulletin Friday asking anyone with information about Coulibaly's wife, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, to contact them, saying she was potentially "armed and dangerous."
According to the judicial documents, a police search of Coulibaly's residence in 2010 turned up a crossbow, 240 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, films and photos of him during a trip to Malaysia, and letters seeking false official documents.
In a police interview that same year, Coulibaly identified Cherif Kouachi as a friend he had met in prison and said they saw each other frequently, according to a transcript of the interview obtained by the Journal du Dimanche newspaper and posted on the newspaper's website.
According to the newspaper, he told the police that people he met in prison used the nickname "Dolly" for him. He said he was employed as a temp worker at a Coca-Cola factory.
"I know a lot of criminals because I met heaps of them in detention," he is quoted as telling the police.
Michel Thooris, secretary-general of France's police labor union, told AP he didn't believe these were "three people isolated in their little world."
"This could very well be a little cell," he said. "There are probably more than three people," he added, given that Cherif Kouachi and Coulibaly had had contacts with other jihadist groups in the past.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, speaking in a TV interview late Friday, also indicated authorities are bracing for the possibility of new attacks.
"We are facing a major challenge" and "very determined individuals," Valls said.
Francois Molins, the Paris prosecutor, said authorities increasingly grew to see links between the attackers after they discovered that Boumeddiene and the companion of one of the Kouachi brothers had exchanged about 500 phone calls.
Speaking to reporters late Friday, he said that 16 people had been detained in the investigation. Officials were continuing to look for "possible accomplices, the financing of these criminal actions, the source of these weapons and all the help that (the terror suspects) might have benefited from, in France as well as overseas, in Yemen," Molins said.

The latest U.S. assessments described to the AP show that the brothers led a normal life for long enough in recent years that the French began to view them as less of a threat and reduced the surveillance. They are continuing to investigate whether the brothers' steps away from radical Islam were part of a plan of misdirection, or whether it was real — and that they simply had another change of heart and decided to turn to violence.

On Friday, a French TV news network said it spoke directly to Coulibaly before his death, and he said he and the brothers were coordinating and that he was with the Islamic State extremist group. BFM, the network, said it also talked to the younger Kouachi brother, who claimed to be financed and dispatched by al-Qaida in Yemen, normally a rival organization.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula said Friday it had planned the assault on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper staff — but did not mention the other terrorist acts.

Separately, officials in Yemen and the U.S. said Said Kouachi, 34, the older of the brothers, had trained with al-Qaida in Yemen. Yemeni authorities suspect he fought with the Islamic extremist group at the height of its offensive in the country's south, a Yemini security official said Friday.
Another senior security official said Said Kouachi was in Yemen until 2012. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of an ongoing investigation into the older Kouachi brother's stay.
A U.S. law enforcement official said Friday that investigators believe Said Kouachi traveled to Yemen to receive weapons training from al-Qaida. The official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation by name, said the brothers had raised enough concern to be placed on the U.S. no-fly list because one had traveled to Yemen and the other had been convicted of terrorism charges.
Though the brothers claimed affiliation to al-Qaida, the U.S. official said, investigators were still trying to determine whether al-Qaida had ordered the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices or if the brothers had done it on their own.

The official said investigators have been searching for any contacts that the brothers maintained with individuals in the United States, but had not yet found any.

French authorities knew Kouachi traveled to Yemen, but it's not clear whether they knew what he did there, U.S. officials believe. Still, French authorities placed both Kouachi brothers under close surveillance when he returned.
Al-Haj reported from Sanaa, Yemen, and Dilanian from Washington. Sarah El Deeb in Cairo, Eric Tucker in Washington, and Jamey Keaten and John Leicester in Paris contributed to this report.

Communiqué de presse

Le syndicat France Police félicite les policiers et gendarmes ayant participé aux assauts contre Chérif Kouachi, Saïd Kouachi et Amedy Koulibaly. Nous félicitons les autorités politiques ayant eu le courage d'ordonner ces deux assauts. L'enquête qui a suivi l'attentat dans les locaux de Charlie Hebdo a été rapide et de haute qualité.

Hayat Boumeddienne qui constitue toujours une menace potentielle doit être traquée sans répit. Les personnes ayant commandité cette série d'attentats et celles qui ont agi en qualité de co-auteurs ou de complices doivent être identifiées, interpellées et poursuivies devant les juridictions nationales et internationales compétentes.

Le Syndicat France Police dénonce toutefois de graves dysfonctionnements ayant conduit à ce 11 septembre français.

Premier dysfonctionnement, celui de notre système judiciaire. Malgré leurs lourds antécédents judiciaires, Chérif Kouachi (filière irakienne, ATWH, séjours au Yémen, entourage) et Amedy Koulibaly (tentative d'évasion de Smaïn Aït Ali Belkacem, filière des Buttes-Chaumont) étaient en liberté profitant du laxisme de juges qui n'ont jamais eu le courage de prononcer à leur encontre des peines suffisamment sévères.

Second dysfonctionnement conséquence du premier, celui du système de surveillance. Ces individus, par leurs antécédents judiciaires et leurs profils et personnalités inquiétants, auraient dû faire l'objet d'une surveillance particulière et étroite.

Troisième dysfonctionnement, suite à l'attentat commis dans les locaux de Charlie Hebdo, les auteurs étant en fuite et susceptibles de commettre de nouvelles actions, les pouvoirs publics auraient dû davantage mettre en garde la population et l'inviter à limiter ses déplacements et à fréquenter des lieux sensibles.

La politique actuellement menée consistant à empêcher des Français de partir à l'étranger faire le djihad en les laissant libres est absurde. S'ils ne peuvent pas aller combattre en Syrie ou en Irak, ils combattront ici en France. Il faut arrêter de croire qu'on pourra par les mots et la prévention baptiser républicains ces individus.

Cette même politique laxiste qui consiste à simplement mettre en examen les Français de retour du djihad ou de centres d'entraînement sans les placer en détention, conduit à l'importation du terrorisme sur le territoire de la République.

Les lois antiterroristes récemment votées, lois que nous avons critiqué à l'époque, n'ont été qu'un écran de fumée destiné à cacher derrière une sémantique rabâchée, l'incurie des pouvoirs publics à prendre de véritables mesures anti-terroristes.

Le Syndicat France Police demande dans l'urgence l'arrestation et le placement en détention provisoire de tous les individus ayant tenté de partir faire le djihad et de ceux rentrés de l'étranger.
Nous demandons dans l'urgence le rétablissement immédiat des contrôles systématiques à nos frontières terrestres, maritimes et aériennes.

Enfin, nous demandons à pénétrer dans les banlieues pour y mener des perquisitions massives en vue de saisir les stocks d'armes de guerre qui s'y trouvent.

Si le gouvernement se contente de mesurettes, la France sera à nouveau frappée.

vendredi 9 janvier 2015

Michel Thooris dans The Guardian : "Il faut terroriser les terroristes"

Policeman Ahmed Merabet mourned after death in Charlie Hebdo attack

Colleagues pay tribute to Muslim officer who was shot at point blank range during raid on Paris magazine
It was a Muslim policeman from a local police station who was “slaughtered like a dog” after heroically trying to stop two heavily armed killers from fleeing the Charlie Hebdo offices following the massacre.
Tributes to Ahmed Merabet poured in on Thursday after images of his murder at point blank range by a Kalashnikov-wielding masked terrorist circulated around the world.

Merabet, who according to officials was 40, was called to the scene while on patrol with a female colleague in the neighbourhood, just in time to see the black Citroën used by the two killers heading towards the boulevard from Charlie Hebdo.

“He was on foot, and came nose to nose with the terrorists. He pulled out his weapon. It was his job, it was his duty,” said Rocco Contento, a colleague who was a union representative at the central police station for Paris’s 11th arrondissement.

Video footage, which has now been pulled from the internet, showed the two gunmen get out of the car before one shot the policeman in the groin. As he falls to the pavement groaning in pain and holding up an arm as though to protect himself, the second gunman moves forward and asks the policeman: “Do you want to kill us?” Merabet replies: “Non, ç’est bon, chef” (“No, it’s OK mate”). The terrorist then shoots him in the head.

After the rise in online support for the satirical magazine, with the catchphrase “Je Suis Charlie,” many decided to honour Merabet, tweeting “Je Suis Ahmed”. One, @Aboujahjah, posted: “I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so.”

Another policeman, 48-year-old Franck Brinsolaro, was killed moments earlier in the assault on Charlie Hebdo where he was responsible for the protection of its editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, one of the 11 killed in the building. A colleague said he “never had time” to pull his weapon.

Brinsolaro’s twin brother, Philippe – a senior police officer in the Marseille region – said on Thursday that all French people should unite to condemn the massacre. “The whole of France must mobilise against the horror that struck our country yesterday. You can’t attack freedom of expression, attack the authority of the state in this way,” he was quoted as telling reporters.

“Sometimes you get the feeling that the police are misunderstood by [French] people but it must not be forgotten that yesterday’s gesture shows that a policeman is ready to intervene at any time when he has to protect the nation.”

Franck Brinsolaro, also from Marseille, had recently married a journalist, Ingrid, who ran a weekly newspaper in Normandy. Her newspaper chain issued a statement saying that editors “will never yield to threats and intimidation of the untouchable principles of freedom of expression”.

But it was the image of Merabet’s killing on a Paris pavement that most shocked French police and the wider public.

French police unions, which carried the now-universal message of solidarity in support of Charlie Hebdo #jesuischarlie, posted on their websites and on Twitter black banners proclaiming #jesuispolicier in memory of their two dead colleagues.

Nicolas Comte, the deputy secretary general of Merabet’s union, Unité SGP Police, said colleagues had been “deeply affected by the video” and the assassination of the policeman “who was slaughtered like a dog”.

Flowers and messages of condolence were piled outside Merabet’s police station, in a side street which was blocked off by metal barriers on Thursday morning. Armed police stood guard on the street and there were further barricades outside the police station entrance.

Its telephone line played sombre music all day – an official day of mourning in France – and a policewoman said that Merabet’s colleagues were “very sad” at his passing.

Merabet had been a policeman for eight years and had just qualified to become a detective. Rocco Contento, who as Paris regional secretary of the union knew Merabet personally, spent time with him at a course at the end of the year. He described him as quiet and conscientious. His family came originally from Tunisia, he said.

Officials at the Bobigny business registry office said a person with the same name and age as Merabet ran a cleaning company between 2003 and 2006 in Livry-Gargan, a north-east Paris suburb where he went to school.

The headteacher at the local lycée, Marie-Pierre Pillet, confirmed he had been a pupil from 1989 to 1995, but nobody remembered him because of the 20-year time lapse.

Merabet was officially described as single, although he had a girlfriend, according to Contento.

“Now we’re on a war footing,” said the head of the union France Police, Michel Thooris. “They’re out there with AK47s, the weapons of war.”

On Thursday, a 25-year-old police officer, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, was killed in an attack in the south Paris suburb of Montrouge. The tragedy was not linked by her colleagues to the Charlie Hebdo atrocity. Thooris said that once the dust had settled and those responsible for both armed attacks were brought to justice, the police would be demanding action from the government.

“Now isn’t the time to criticise, but for decades there have been no-go zones in the council estates where there are arms caches and drug running,” he said. “We must terrorise the terrorists.”

Double prise d'otages : à ceux qui ont protégé le démocratie, dites merci