Police react to a suspicious vehicle near La |REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol1/4
Police react to a suspicious vehicle near La |REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Zoe Dubes, 7, attends a vigil outside the Fre|REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson2/4
Zoe Dubes, 7, attends a vigil outside the Fre|REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Belgian police stage a raid, in search of sus|REUTERS/Yves Herman3/4
Belgian police stage a raid, in search of sus|REUTERS/Yves Herman
A sign asking why is seen amongst candles and|REUTERS/Christian Hartmann4/4
A sign asking why is seen amongst candles and|REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Police raided homes of suspected Islamist militants across France overnight following the Paris attacks, and a source close to the investigation said a Belgian national in Syria was suspected of orchestrating Friday's mayhem.
Prosecutors said one of the killers had been stopped and fingerprinted in Greece last month, fuelling speculation the Islamic State had taken advantage of the recent influx of refugees fleeing the Middle East to slip militants into Europe. The Paris carnage, which killed 129 people, has led to calls for the European Union to close its borders to asylum seekers.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told journalists on Monday police arrested 23 people and seized arms including rocket launchers in 168 raids overnight. Another 104 people were put under house arrest, he said.
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"Let this be clear to everyone, this is just the beginning, these actions are going to continue," Cazeneuve said.
French warplanes pounded Islamic State positions in its Syrian stronghold Raqqa late Sunday -- its biggest such strike since it started assaults as part of a U.S.-led mission launched in 2014.
The investigation into the coordinated Paris attacks, the worst atrocity in France since World War Two, led swiftly to Belgium after police discovered that two of the cars used by the militants had been rented in the Brussels region.
By Sunday, Belgian officials said they had arrested seven people in Brussels, while another man -- one of three brothers believed to have been involved in the plot -- was being hunted.
A source close to the investigation said Belgian national Abdelhamid Abaaoud, currently in Syria, was suspected of having ordered the Paris operation. "He appears to be the brains behind several planned attacks in Europe," the source stated.
French prosecutors say they have identified five of the seven suicide attackers who died on Friday. Four were French, while the fifth man was fingerprinted in Greece in October and was possibly Syrian.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that, since this summer, French intelligence services had prevented five attacks.
"We know that more attacks are being prepared, not just against France but also against other European countries," Valls told RTL radio. "We are going to live with this terrorist threat for a long time."
Schools in Paris re-opened on Monday, and many museums were due to open their doors in the afternoon after a 48-hour shutdown, but some popular tourist sites, including Disneyland, remained closed.
Police have named just two French attackers -- Ismael Omar Mostefai, 29, from Chartres, southwest of Paris, and Samy Amimour, 28, from the Paris suburb of Drancy. Media named the two other French assailants as Bilal Hadfi and Ibrahim Abdeslam.
The news revived a furious row within the European Union on how to handle the flood of refugees. Top Polish and Slovak officials poured cold water on an EU plan to relocate asylum seekers across the bloc, saying the violence underlined their concerns about taking in Muslim refugees.
Britain announced on Monday it would boost its intelligence agency staff by 15 percent and more than double spending on aviation security to defend against Islamist militants plotting attacks from Syria.