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French Police: Organizer of Paris Attack Killed



French officials say the man suspected of organizing the deadly attacks in Paris last week was among those killed Wednesday.

Police say Abdelhamid Abaaoud was shot many times during a raid on an apartment in Saint-Denis, a suburb north of Paris. The Paris prosecutor’s office said Abaaoud was identified by his fingerprints.

Abaaoud was a 27- or 28-year-old Belgian citizen. His family is Moroccan.

The November 13 attacks killed 129 people and injured more than 300 others. Officials said all 129 victims of the attacks have been identified. They believe that 20 people planned and carried out the attacks on a stadium, a concert hall and restaurants.

At least eight people were arrested in the raid. A woman whom police say was a family member of Abaaoud died when she detonated a suicide vest of explosives.

Three police officers were wounded and a police dog was killed.

On Thursday, the French National Assembly approved an extension of the country’s state of emergency for three months. The Senate is expected to vote Friday.

On Wednesday, President Francois Hollande said the extension gives police the power to close “any association or gathering.” That includes community groups and Muslim religious centers. Police can shut down meetings where people express support for terrorism or urge others to conduct terrorism.

The bill is being criticized by civil rights activists.

On Thursday, police officials said officers off duty may carry weapons to protect citizens until the emergency ends.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he rejects criticism that French security services failed to prevent the attacks. He told parliament, “I do not accept the criticism seeking to disparage our security services, who do a difficult and tough job.”

Valls also said the country faces the threat of chemical or biological attacks.

French police have carried out 414 raids, made 60 arrests and seized 75 weapons since Friday, they said. They have also put 118 people under house arrest, meaning they must stay at home. House arrest is one of the powers given to officials by the state of emergency put into effect Saturday.

Mr. Hollande is to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama next week in Washington to talk about ways to fight terrorism. And he is to meet November 26 with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Mr. Hollande wants to change the country’s constitution to help officials fight terrorism. And he wants people found guilty of terrorism to have their French citizenship removed.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Correspondent Lisa Bryant reported this story from Paris. VOA’s Mia Bush and Chris Hannas provided additional information from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

suburb – n. a town or other area where people live in houses near a larger city

prosecutor – n. a lawyer who represents the side in a court case that accuses a person of a crime and who tries to prove that the person is guilty

fingerprints – n. the mark that is made by pressing the tip of a finger on a surface; a mark of this kind made in ink for the purpose of identifying a person

stadium – n. a very large usually roofless building that has a large open area surrounded by many rows of seats and that is used for sports events or concerts

concert hall – n. a large room or building where music is performed

detonate(d) – v. to explode or to cause (something, such as a bomb) to explode

vest – n. a special piece of clothing that is worn on the upper part of the body

disparage – v. to describe (someone or something) as unimportant, weak or bad

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