More Than 168 Pre-Dawn Raids Are Made Across France and 23 Suspects Are Arrested

Keiligh Baker et al., Daily Mail, November 15, 2015

French police have seized a rocket launcher and a huge cache of weapons in Lyon after they launched a series of coordinated anti-terrorism raids across the country this morning following the deadly attacks in Paris on Friday.

Heavily armed tactical units launched 168 pre-dawn raids at addresses in Toulouse, Lyon, Grenoble, Calais and two suburbs of Paris.

A rocket launcher, flak jackets, several pistols and a Kalashnikov assault rifle were among the cache of weapons seized in Lyon overnight.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 104 people have been placed under house arrest, while 23 suspects have been detained for questioning.

He said: ‘It’s just a start, these operations are going to continue, the response of the Republic will be huge, will be total. The one who targets the Republic, the Republic will catch him, will be implacable.’

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Referring to the anti-terrorist units of the French National Police carrying out the raids, an eye witness in in the suburb of Bobigny said just before dawn: ‘There are hundreds of them everywhere.

‘Housing blocks are being stormed, and doors broken down. They are shouting ‘Police, Police!’ and pulling suspects away.’

Meanwhile raids in Lyon led to five arrests and the seizure of a rocket launcher, flak jackets, several pistols and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Pictures taken from the scene of a raid in Toulouse shows dozens of police vans travelling in convoy.

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Le Dauphine claims several arrests were made in Grenoble and weapons and cash were seized in raids that began around 1am local time.

It reports half a dozen raids were carried out in both the city and the surrounding suburbs of Echirolles and Fountain Saint-Martin-d’Hères.

The Guardian reports a further police operation is under way in Jeumont, close to the French border with Belgium.

Meanwhile, Paris terrorist fugitive Salah Abdeslam–dubbed the world’s most wanted man–appears to have escaped police for a second time in three days.

Belgian special forces stormed a Brussels apartment in a district known as the ‘jihadi capital of Europe’ believing the 26-year-old was hiding inside.

In a scene similar to the famous Iranian embassy siege in London in 1980, soldiers clambered across the roof and were seen firing tear gas through a Velux-style window to flush out a suspect who witnesses claimed came out on to a balcony with his arms up.

A hooded man was handcuffed and put in a car by plain-clothes police but the Mayor of Molenbeek has insisted that there were no arrests and the wanted man is still on the run.

Abdeslam is one of three ‘blood brothers’ believed to be at the heart of French massacres where 129 people died on Friday and incredibly he was stopped and then released by French police guarding the Belgian border hours after the attacks.

It appears the terror suspect, believed to be a getaway driver and potential shooter, may be hiding in Molenbeek, where the eight-strong ISIS terror cell may have met before the Paris raids to gather automatic weapons and suicide vests.

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This morning French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that authorities believe new terror attacks are being planned in France and in other European countries following the carnage in Paris.

‘We know that operations were being prepared and are still being prepared, not only against France but other European countries too,’ he said.

France would be living with the threat of terror attacks ‘for a long time’, he said.

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