St. Denis Siege Over: 2 killed, 7 arrested in plot to attack La Defense Paris Business District

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St. Denis Paris Suburb siege

Source: AP

The seven hour siege at an apartment house in heavily Muslim St. Denis has ended. The toll 2 killed, including a woman who exploded her suicide belt, seven have been arrested. Five police were wounded and a SWAT team dog, Diesel, was killed by the debris from the explosion of the female terrorist suicide belt.  There were unconfirmed reports of the possibility that the terror mastermind of last Friday’s massacre in Paris, Belgian a radical ISIS operative, Abdel amid Abaaoud. AP reported French prosecutor, Francois Molins saying that the planned raid that began early Wednesday morning was intended to entrap him. French police are awaiting forensic investigation to determine the identities of those killed and arrested. in the raid. There are unconfirmed reports that terrorists may have been on the verge of launching another terror attack directed at disrupting La Defense, France’s business center in Paris.

Fox News reported  eyewitness accounts of the assault on the apartment complex in St. Denis located less than a mile from the French Soccer stadium, scene of suicide bombings last Friday:

Police vans and fire trucks rushed to the scene north of Paris, just over a mile from the Stade de France stadium, which was targeted by three suicide bombers during Friday’s attacks. Riot police cleared people from the streets, pointing guns at curious residents to move them off the roads.

Residents said an initial explosion shook the neighborhood at about 4 a.m. (10 p.m. EST).

“Then there was second big explosion. Then two more explosions. There was an hour of gunfire,” said Baptiste Marie, a 26-year-old independent journalist who lives in the neighborhood.

Another witness, Amine Guizani, said he heard the sound of grenades and automatic gunfire.

“They were shooting for an hour. Nonstop. There were grenades. It was going, stopping. Kalashnikovs. Starting again,” Guizani said.

Sporadic bangs and explosions continued, and at 7:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. EST) at least seven explosions shook the center of Saint-Denis. Associated Press reporters at the scene could hear what sounded like grenade blasts from the direction of the standoff.

One local resident posted a 10-second video of the scene on her street near the siege. A series of bangs sounding like automatic weapons fire could be heard. The message accompanying the tweet translates to “It’s an intervention by police … street closed, officers, etc.”

Earlier in the United States, two Air France flights were diverted Tuesday night after phone calls were received alleging bombs may have been planted aboard.   CNN reported:

Both flights landed safely Tuesday night, and were searched and given the all-clear by Canadian and U.S. authorities.

Flight 65, en route from Los Angeles to Paris, was diverted to Salt Lake City after a bomb threat was called in from the ground, a U.S. government official said.

The official did not know whether anyone was arrested and was not aware of any unruly passengers on board.

Shortly afterward, Air France Flight 55 from Washington’s Dulles International Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris was diverted to an airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia — also because of a called-in bomb threat, a government source said.

Syrian passport of suicide bomber Ahmad Alomohammad

In another development, there were reports that eight Syrian passports were found on migrants in Europe with the name of the suicide bomber at the French Soccer stadium last Friday. One man was arrested in Serbia who carried one of the forged documents. The Daily Mail reported:

The full scale of the trade in false passports that allows terrorists to slip into Europe was exposed last night.

It lets Islamic State fanatics who are bent on murder pose as refugees fleeing war and persecution.

Eight migrants have reached Europe using documents almost identical to those carried by one of the Paris suicide bombers.

He claimed asylum on the Greek island of Leros last month with a fake Syrian passport in the name of 25-year-old Ahmad Almohammad.

In a shocking indictment of the EU’s porous borders, yesterday Serbian police revealed they had arrested a man carrying a Syrian passport which was almost a carbon copy of the one found on the IS bomber’s corpse on Friday.

It had the same name, date of birth and place of birth. The only difference was the photograph. Serbian officials said as many as six other men this year had entered the EU with virtually identical passports.

The passport is in the name of Ahmad Almohammad, born September 10, 1990 in the Syrian city of Idlib. Sources said it was either taken or fabricated based on a real identity

The discovery has heightened fears that all the documents are fakes made by the same forger in the Middle East to dupe authorities into believing the holders are asylum seekers.

And worse, it has sparked concerns that the bogus papers could be in the possession of jihadists now lurking undetected in the EU’s passport-free Schengen travel zone.

This will bolster efforts by more than 30 US Governors, US House Speaker Ryan, US Senate Majority leader McConnell requesting a  Congressional  vote  on a “pause” in President Obama’s announced intent to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the US.  As we posted yesterday, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and representatives of Voluntary agencies and refugee resettlement NGOs on a press conference suggested that vetting of refugees admitted to the US was ‘thorough” denying that terrorists could infiltrate here.

Those representations were dismissed by former Reagan era Defense official Stephen Bryen on a post on this writer’s Facebook page:

The real truth is we have zero capability to vet anybody. It is a lie of the first order perpetrated by people who are intent on their political agendas and don’t care at all about the security of the American people. You can be sure of gross incompetence and total failure that lies ahead.

Meanwhile, President Obama was briefed on these overnight developments in Paris at the Manila APEC conference, while being sharply criticized over his dismissive comments about the evident comments about his failed strategy in the war against ISIS.  He criticized Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for suggesting that Syrian Christians be given preference for admission of refugees under the US program and that Muslims be diverted to majority Muslim countries.  Meanwhile, Arkansas US Sen. Tom Cotton said that the US Refugee Admissions Program “inadvertently” discriminates against Christians and other non Muslim religious minorities, as they don’t enter UN refugee camps for fear of retaliation by Muslim residents. 

AP reported the resolve of French President Hollande  to pursue a war against the Islamic State in a televised address today:

French President Francois Hollande says France is ‘at war’ against terrorism by the Islamic State group.

Hollande says he wants “large coalition” working together against IS militants to destroy a group that threatens the whole world and “commits massacres” in the Mideast.

Hollande says “we are at war.” He was speaking in a televised address Wednesday after a seven-hour police siege on an apartment north of Paris where police suspected the mastermind of the deadly Paris attacks might have been.

He says the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle just left to help French military operations in Syria against IS.

Russia and France have formed a temporary alliance engaged in using US target intelligence information to aggressively attack targets in Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State raising questions about the efficacy of the US bombing campaign micromanaged from the Obama White House.  The US led air assault is just now attacking oil tanker trucks and production facilities captured by ISIS, the source of significant smuggled oil revenues for the self declared Caliphate. A Caliphate attracting tens of thousands of foreign fighters including those from Belgium and France, some of whom may have leaded the Paris massacre and last night’s siege in St. Denis.

 

 

 

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