The following is an excerpt from Cassandra Vinograd | November 16, 2015 | msnbc.com |
French police launched dozens of raids overnight as part of a colossal manhunt in wake of Paris’s deadly terror attacks.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the RTL radio more than 150 raids were carried out across the country.
“We are at war with terrorism,” he told the station. “The terrorists can strike again.”
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that 23 people had been arrested — while 104 others remained for questioning — over a 48-hour period. He added that guns, bulletproof vests and even a rocket launcher had been seized.
“This is just the beginning,” Cazeneuve said. “The response of France will be total. Those who attack France, we will catch them and we will be unrelenting with them … Terrorists will never destroy the Republic, because the Republic will destroy them.”
Searches took place throughout the country, including in Toulouse, Grenoble, Bobigny and Lyon.
The raids came amid a broadening investigation that has stretched across Europe to find any potential accomplices to the bloody attacks which rocked Paris on Friday.
Three teams of terrorists laid siege to Paris on Friday night, killing 129 people in a spree of shootings and explosions across six locations. The attackers were all outfitted with suicide vests and armed with Kalashnikovs.
France’s president called the attacks — which ISIS claimed responsibility for — an “act of war” and on Sunday night launched airstrikes on the terror group’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria.
Authorities also expanded a massive manhunt for any potential accomplices — with one Salah Abdeslam in the crosshairs.
An arrest warrant described the 26-year-old him as “dangerous” and potentially linked to the attacks. NBC News learned that Abdeslam signed the rental car papers for one of the cars used by the attackers.
Two of his brothers also are believed to be implicated in the terror spree — with one among the dead attackers and another reportedly in police custody.
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