City shuts as police trace killers' roots
MOST public venues of Paris were shut yesterday, following the citywide terrorist attacks on Friday night that claimed nearly 130 lives. One gunman has been identified and his relatives were detained for questioning.
Most colleges, youth facilities, cultural and sporting venues, and even waste collection points were closed yesterday in the French capital, where President Francois Hollande has invoked a state of emergency, France's Le Figaro daily reported yesterday.
The Eiffel Tower, parks and cemeteries were closed earlier than usual, said the newspaper.
The city's police also strongly advised postponement of mass events, and urged appropriate security for those which must go ahead.
Meanwhile, more than 1,500 troops have been mobilised to police sensitive spots in Paris, re-igniting the debate of whether military surveillance is needed to check terrorism.
The provisional death toll from Friday's attacks, comprising a dozen nationalities, was put yesterday at 129, while the number of injured stood at 352.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has claimed responsibility for the carnage.
The multiple attacks in Paris on Friday were more similar to September 11 than the shootings at Charlie Hebdo weekly in January, Sylvie Bermann, France's ambassador to Britain, told the BBC.
"What is obvious is that we have to strengthen our external borders," added Ms Bermann.
Meanwhile, French police have identified one of the gunmen who blew himself up at the Bataclan concert hall on Friday as 29-year-old Paris native Ismael Omar Mostefai, Agence France-Presse reported.
Six people close to Mostefai, including his father and 34-year-old brother, have been taken into custody by police.
Bataclan was the scene of the bloodiest attack where 89 concertgoers were killed.
The other attacks were carried out at six other Paris' popular nightspots, including restaurants, bars and busy venues outside France's national stadium.
The seven attackers - six of whom blew themselves up and one shot by police at Bataclan - are the first to carry out suicide bombings on French soil.
All seven used Kalashnikov assault rifles and a kind of explosive popular with Islamists, reported French newspapers.
Experts believe that the "efficient" killers have been trained in the camps of ISIS.
But unlike the gunmen who slayed 17 in January in Paris starting with the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, the background of Friday's attackers could not be immediately affirmed.
Belgian police on Saturday raided a Brussels neighbourhood where three of the attackers are believed to have lived, and made a number of arrests, reported The Guardian newspaper.
Witnesses in Paris said some attackers came in cars with Belgian plates.
The Greek authorities have confirmed that a Syrian passport and an Egyptian one were found on the bodies of two of the three suicide bombers who targeted the French stadium.
If the passports are confirmed to belong to the attackers, it would mean they had entered Europe via Greece as refugees among thousands fleeing the civil war in Syria.