Man shot dead outside police station in Paris on Charlie Hebdo anniversary

  • A man carrying a large knife and wearing a fake suicide vest was shot dead by police outside a police station in the 18th arrondissement in northern Paris on Thursday morning. 
  • Prosecutors said the man had a piece of paper with the ISIS flag on it and a claim of responsibility written in Arabic in his pocket.+

  • An anti-terror investigation has been launched into the incident, which came shortly after President Hollande gave a speech on the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks, in which 12 people were killed. 


Anti-climax for far right in France

  • In stark contrast to its performance in the first round of regional elections, the far right Front Nationale suffered a major setback in Sunday's second round. 
  • Marine Le Pen's party was squeezed by the traditional parties as Nicolas Sarkozy's Republicans and President Hollande's Socialists divided up the regions and voters locked out Le Pen and co.

  • Nationalists won in Corsica, which is counted as the 13th mainland region. 

 


December 7th, 2015

National Front on top in French regional elections

 
  • Marine Le Pen's National Front secured important gains in the first round of regional elections in France on December 6th - the far-right party was top in six of thirteen mainland regions. 

  • The second round takes place on December 13th. 


 

Terror in Paris: The November 13th Attacks

The investigation

 

  • On November 18th, French police carried out a dramatic operation in the Parisian suburb of Saint Denis. 

  • The anti-terror raid on an apartment block led to the arrest of eight people and the deaths of three suspected terrorists. 

  • One of the dead was a woman who blew herself up as police approached.

  • Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is suspected of orchestrating the Paris attacks, also died during the raid. 

  • The 28 year old Belgian national returned to Europe from Syria earlier this year via Greece unbeknown to French intelligence services according to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

  • Mr. Cazeneuve said that despite arrest warrants being in place for Abaaoud, France only became aware of his return from Syria after the Paris attacks. 

  • Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that the raid neutralised a terror cell that was preparing to act - eight people were arrested and at least two people, both suspected terrorists, were killed. 

  • An operation by Belgian police in Molenbeek on November 16th ended without any arrests being made - a spokesman for the town's mayor told Buzzfeed officers were looking for the wanted Salah Abdeslam. 

  • Mohammed Abdeslam, who was among those released in Belgium - two of his brothers have been implicated in the attacks, said his family's thoughts were with the victims. He has urged his brother Salah to hand himself in to authorities. 

  • Prosecutor Molins said on November 24th that authorities suspect Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged ringleader of the Paris attacks who died in the Saint Denis siege, was planning an attack on La Defense financial district on November 18th or 19th. 

  • Also on November 24th, police in Belgium issued an arrest warrant for Mohamed Abrini - police say the 30 year old was filmed with the wanted fugitive Salah Abdeslam two days before the Paris attacks and was seen driving a Renault Clio that was later used in the attacks.

 

The response

  • Addressing both houses of parliament on November 16th, President Hollande said the attacks were planned in Syria and organised in Belgium. 

  • On November 19th, the National Assembly approved a three month extension to the state of emergency by 551 votes to 6. 

  • On November 17th, France invoked the European Union's mutual defence clause - becoming the first country to do so. 

  • EU interior and justice ministers met on November 20th and agreed to finalise an EU passenger name record system by the end of the year, in addition to other measures to strengthen controls at external borders. 

  • President Hollande was in Washington DC on November 24th to meet with President Obama and is due to travel to Moscow on November 26th to meet with President Putin. 


What is the EU's mutual defence clause? 

Article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which has never before been invoked, obliges EU member states to provide aid and assistance 'by all means in their power' if another member state is the victim of an 'armed aggression' on its territory.

The clause calls on the EU to use 'all the instruments at its disposal, including the military resources made available by the member states' to protect civilians and democratic institutions from any terrorist threat. 


 

  • President Obama, speaking at the G20 in Turkey, reiterated his position that using ground troops against ISIS would be a mistake.

  • France and Russia have intensified airstrikes on the ISIS, particularly its stronghold of Raqqa in Syria. 

  • British Prime Minister David Cameron said on November 16th that security services had foiled seven terror plots in the past six months - Mr. Cameron also said that he would not bring a vote on airstrikes in Syria to parliament as he feared such a motion would be defeated. 

  • EU justice and home affairs ministers will hold an emergency meeting on November 20th following the attacks in Paris - among the subjects discussed will be a European 'passenger name record', firearms security and the reinforcement of controls at external borders. 

  • President Obama described as 'shameful' the rhetoric from some Republican Party presidential candidates, including Jeb Bush, who have said that the United States should only accept non-Muslim Syrian refugees. 

  • A number of governors in the U.S have said they would refuse to admit Syrian refugees into their states. 

  • On November 19th, The House of Representatives passed a bill that would introduce stringent restrictions on the acceptance of refugees from Syria and Iraq - individual applications would require approval from leading national security figures under the proposed legislation, which was backed by 47 Democrats despite opposition from the White House. 

  • The UN Refugee Agency has warned against demonising refugees in the wake of the Paris atrocities. 

  • President Obama and President Putin spoke at the sidelines of the G20 summit in Turkey on Sunday - the two leaders agreed on the need for a political transition and a ceasefire in Syria according to an unnamed U.S official who spoke to Reuters. 

  • Security fears led to football matches in Brussels between Belgium and Spain and in Hannover between Germany and The Netherlands being abandoned - Belgium has raised its terror threat level, while the situation in Hannover remains unclear. 

The victims

 

  • All 130 people killed in the November 13th atrocities have now been identified. 

  • A minute's silence was observed in Paris and in cities across Europe at 12pm CET on November 16th. 

 
 

Refugee Crisis: Monday's developments

  • British Prime Minister David Cameron said in the House of Commons that the UK would take 20,000 Syrian refugees from camps near the Syrian border between now and 2020. 

  • French President Francois Hollande said his country would start reconnaissance flights over Syria to establish whether French war planes should begin bombing ISIS targets. 

  • Mr. Hollande said France would take in 24,000 refugees

  • Austria's Chancellor said that the country will 'step by step' roll back the emergency measures that allowed more than 12,000 Syrian refugee cross into the country unchecked. 

  • Germany's ruling coalition agreed to make an additional €3.35 billion in funding available to states and regional governments to help cope with arriving refugees and migrants.

  • A further €3 billion will be included in the 2016 budget to allow the government to cover the cost of paying benefits eligible asylum seekers.   


Paris bound train attack

What happened? 

  • The train was travelling from Amsterdam to Paris. 

  • There were 544 passengers on board. 

  • A heavily armed gunman was tackled by two U.S service personnel who were passengers on the train. 

  • The servicemen, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone, were on holidays with a third friend in Europe. 

  • The gunman attacked Mr. Stone with a box cutter as he was being restrained.

  • Mr. Skarlatos told Sky News that the gunman's assault rifle had jammed.