French police arrest members of Paris attacker's family

2015-11-15 02:17:32 GMT2015-11-15 10:17:32(Beijing Time)  Agencies

Police have arrested family members of one of the Paris attackers, a Frenchman born in the suburbs of the capital, prosecutors say.

Paris prosecutor's office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre declined to give further details of who had been detained, but said there were searches under way.

Earlier, it was confirmed that one of the eight suspects killed in the series of shootings and bombings at restaurants, bars, a music venue and the national football stadium was a French citizen.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins also said that one of the attackers who took part in the killing of about 80 people at the Bataclan concert hall was an Islamist radical known to the security services, who had a criminal record but had never spent time in jail.

Three teams of attackers in identical explosives vests seem to have co-ordinated the "act of barbarism" that left 129 people dead and 352 injured across the French capital, he added.

Three other people, including a French national, have been arrested in connection with the atrocities. They were detained at the Belgian border.

There were also police raids in the Molenbeek area of Brussels.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the near-simultaneous attacks and has warned that France would remain at the "top of the list of targets" over its airstrikes on IS territory in Syria and Iraq.

It said in an online statement that eight militants armed with explosive belts and guns chose targets "in the capital of adultery and vice".

French President Francois Hollande earlier said the assaults were an "act of war" by IS.

Syrian and Egyptian passports have been found near the bodies of two of the attackers, with Greek officials suggesting that two of the suspects may have arrived in the European Union through Greece in recent months.

Tony Smith, a consultant on global border control, said it is extremely difficult for the EU to track people once they are in Europe because there are no internal borders.

He said: "The complexion of this group suggests that there have been some breaches of the external EU border, and there aren't any internal borders at the moment in Europe, so this is a very worrying development.

"What should happen is a very thorough identification and screening process at the first point entry but the sheer numbers - with a four-fold increase in migrants entering the EU irregularly in the first 10 months of this year over last year, which was a record number - means it is extremely difficult for border agencies, in places like Greece and Italy, to do all of those checks.

"Once people are on shore then they are free to roam around the Schengen group without further challenge."

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has vowed to "destroy" those behind the killings.

"We will strike this enemy to destroy him. In France and in Europe, we'll chase the authors of this act, and also in Syria and Iraq. We will win this war," he said.

Thousands of soldiers have been deployed on the country's streets in the aftermath of the attacks.

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