French officials say they have killed two suspects in the Paris terrorism attacks last week, but are unsure if they killed the mastermind.
French police carried out loud and chaotic raids in Paris for several hours on Wednesday as the search for suspected terrorists continued.
French and Belgian officials say they continue to search for Abdelhamid Abaaoud, whom they believe organized the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday. He was born in Belgium and comes from a Moroccan family.
Earlier, police spent seven hours searching for suspects in a neighborhood near the French capital. One operation resulted in two people dead and seven others arrested.
In that raid, three police officers were injured and a police dog was killed.
French officials say they are identifying those killed and captured. They say the dead included a woman who may be related to the mastermind. They say she may have set off an explosion when police arrived, but those reports were not confirmed at press time.
In total, 16 people have been arrested in Paris since Sunday, police said.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that police fired 5,000 rounds of gunshots during an hour-long exchange with suspects in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.
Molins said officials believe those suspects were planning another attack.
French and Belgian officials also are seeking Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam.
Abdeslam’s brother -- Mohammed – was released by police after being questioned. He told a French television station that “the best outcome would be for [Salah] to turn himself in so that judicial processes can shed light on this story.”
Also Tuesday, investigators identified the man who said that the Islamic State group was responsible for the attacks in Paris. He is 36-year-old Fabien Clain of Toulouse. Police suspect he organized a failed attack on a church early this year.
The November 13 attacks killed 129 people and injured more than 300 others. Officials believe about 20 people were involved in planning and carrying out the attacks. Police continue to search for other suspects.
French officials declared a state of emergency on Saturday.
On Wednesday, President Francois Hollande said his country is at war with the Islamic State. He said he wants to build a large coalition to target the militant group.
France is sending an aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean to join the international military campaign against the Islamic State.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with President Hollande on Tuesday. After the meeting, Kerry said the militants “will feel even greater pressure” in the coming weeks.
Hollande is to meet with President Barack Obama in Washington on November 24 to talk about ways to increase the campaign against the Islamic State. The leaders will talk about ways the United States can help in the investigation of the attacks.
Kerry said “this visit will underscore the friendship and solidarity between the United States and France -- our oldest ally.”
I’m Mario Ritter.
Correspondent Lisa Bryant reported this story from Paris. VOA’s Chris Hannas provided additional information. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck and George Grow were the editors.
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Words in This Story
chaotic -- adj. in a state of complete confusion and disorder.
outcome – n. something that happens as a result of an activity or process
turn himself in – idiomatic expression to surrender to police voluntarily
shed light on – idiomatic expression to reveal something about something; to clarify something