Paris attacks: Scenes of devastation in the French capital


It is wake up time people. Have the media laws kept you just that little bit away from the slaughter, the suicide bombings and massacre of innocent folks going about their day?
WELL… BE WARNED I AM POSTING AN EXTREMELY DISTURBING IMAGE OF THE CONCERT HALL BECAUSE I CAN! I hope the BEST bands in the WORLD have the guts to play in this hall and not for rich celeb types either. Maybe the orphans and widows etc???
HOW ABOUT A QUICK COFFEE AND CAKE? see that a bit further down…THE AMAZING thing is folks are queuing up to have a coffee there since it happened.
FRANCE ONE DAY YOUR PLACE NEXT. GOING TO LISTEN TO SOME MUSIC AND CHILL OUT FROM THE CRAZY WORLD AROUND THEM. THIS IS HOW THE ENDED UP AFTER GOING TO SEE Eagles of Death Metal  (Who need support from every corner of the world)
Dying to see a band

Dying to see a band

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La Belle Equipe

La Belle Equipe

Related Story: As it happened: At least 120 people killed in multiple Paris attacks

Related Story: Coordinated terror attacks leave France in shock
Related Story: Information for paris bombing map

About 120 people have been killed in multiple terrorist attacks in the French capital, including about 100 who were taken hostage at a rock concert, according to Paris city officials.

Here is a collection of images and footage from Paris as the situation unfolds.

Paris attacks: Weapons seized during pre-dawn raids, French PM warns more attacks being planned

French police seized “an arsenal” of weapons during dozens of pre-dawn raids against Islamist suspects in the early hours of Monday (local time), as prime minister Manuel Valls warned terrorists were planning more attacks in the wake of Friday night’s atrocities in Paris.

The raids focused particularly on the Lyon area, where police made five arrests and seized a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, bulletproof vests and handguns.

Mr Valls said authorities have conducted at least 150 house searches in cities around France since the attacks.

Earlier reports had said pre-dawn police operations were carried out in the Paris suburb of Bobigny as well as in Jeumont, close to the French border with Belgium, and in the southern city of Toulouse.

Thirteen raids were carried out around the south-eastern French city of Lyon, a local police source said.

They led to five arrests and the seizure of “an arsenal of weapons”, including a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, bulletproof vests, handguns and combat gear, the source said.

French media have reported at least six people were arrested in another raid in the Alpine city of Grenoble.

Mr Valls said terrorism could hit again in “in days or weeks to come” and said the attacks in Paris, which killed 129 people, were “planned in Syria”.

He said French intelligence services had prevented several attacks since the summer and police knew other attacks were being prepared in France as well as in the rest of Europe.

“We are making use of the legal framework of the state of emergency to question people who are part of the radical jihadist movement … and all those who advocate hate of the republic,” he said.

“We know that operations were being prepared and are still being prepared, not only against France but other European countries too.”

On Sunday night (local time) French jets launched extensive air strikes on what the government in Paris said were Islamic State targets in the terrorist movement’s stronghold Raqqa.

Prosecutors earlier revealed a growing Belgian connection to the Paris attacks, with officials conceding a poor district in Brussels with past links to international terrorism is a “gigantic problem” and a hotbed for extremism.

A manhunt is also underway for Salah Abdeslam, a Belgium-born man identified as the only surviving terrorist from the attacks.

Seven UK terror attacks ‘stopped’ in last six months: Cameron

British prime minister David Cameron said UK security services had foiled about seven terror attacks since June.

“Our security and intelligence services have stopped something like seven attacks in the last six months, albeit attacks planned on a smaller scale [than Paris attacks],” he told BBC Radio 4.

“We have been aware of these cells operating in Syria that are radicalising people in our own countries, potentially sending people back to carry out attacks.

“It was the sort of thing we were warned about.”

In response to the Paris attacks, Mr Cameron said he wanted Britain to join the fight in Syria to carry out air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants.

He will still need to convince more lawmakers to launch any action and will take a proposal to MPs soon.

Mr Cameron said Britain was engaged in a “generational struggle” against extremism and that he has boosted funding for security services in direct response to the threat posed by IS.

He also said there were “hopeful signs” from Saturday’s talks in Vienna on Syria that progress was being made on how to deal with the IS.

“You can’t deal with so-called Islamic State unless you get a political settlement in Syria that enables you then to permanently degrade and destroy that organisation,” he said.

ABC/wires


Paris attacks: What we know so far

A series of coordinated terrorist attacks ripped through Paris shortly after 9pm on Friday November 13. Here is what we know so far.

What we know about the attacks

What we know about the attackers

  • At least eight attackers were involved, operating in three separate groups.
  • Seven of them died, including six who detonated vests laden with explosives.
  • An international manhunt is underway for Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to be the eighth attacker.
    • Abdeslam, 26, was questioned and released near the Belgian border soon after the attacks.
    • One of his brothers, Ibrahim Abdeslam, was involved in the attacks; he died after detonating his suicide vest on Boulevard Voltaire.
    • Another brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, was arrested in Brussels.
  • Another attacker was named as Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29, who was identified from a severed finger at the Bataclan concert hall.
  • Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in response to insults of Islam’s prophet and air strikes in IS territory.

What we know about the investigation

What we know about France’s response

  • French president Francois Hollande told the French people “we are going to fight and our fight will be merciless”.
  • France launched air strikes against IS militants in Syria.

    bbc.com

    Paris attacks: Bataclan and other assaults leave many dead – BBC News

     People could be seen escaping from the Bataclan concert hall shortly after a series of explosions

    France has declared a national state of emergency and tightened borders after at least 128 people were killed in a night of gun and bomb attacks in Paris.

    Eighty people were reported killed after gunmen burst into the Bataclan concert hall and took hostages before security forces stormed the hall.

    People were shot dead at restaurants and bars at five other sites in Paris. At least 180 people were injured.

    These are the deadliest attacks in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings.

    French President Francois Hollande, visibly shaken, called Friday night’s almost simultaneous attacks “a horror” and vowed to wage a “merciless” fight against terrorism.

    Paris saw three days of attacks in early January, when Islamist gunmen murdered 18 people after attacking satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish supermarket and a policewoman on patrol.

    Live: Follow the latest developments here

    In pictures: Paris shootings

    Eyewitness accounts from the scene

    The attack on the 1,500-seat Bataclan hall was by far the deadliest of Friday night’s attacks. Gunmen opened fire on concert-goers watching US rock group Eagles of Death Metal. The event had been sold out.

    “At first we thought it was part of the show but we quickly understood,” Pierre Janaszak, a radio presenter, told Agence France Presse.

    Speaking outside the Bataclan concert hall President Hollande said the attacks were “an abomination and a barbaric act”

    “They didn’t stop firing. There was blood everywhere, corpses everywhere. We heard screaming. Everyone was trying to flee.”

    He said the gunmen took 20 hostages, and he heard one of them tell their captives: “It’s the fault of Hollande, it’s the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria”.

    Within an hour, security forces had stormed the concert hall and all four attackers there were dead. Three had blown themselves up and a fourth was shot dead by police.


    Attack sites:

    La Belle Equipe, 92 rue de Charonne, 11th district – at least 19 dead in gun attacks

    Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant at rue Alibert, 10th district – at least 12 dead in gun attacks

    La Casa Nostra restaurant, 92 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 11th district – at least 5 dead in gun attacks

    Stade de France, St Denis, just north of Paris – explosions heard outside venue, three attackers dead

    Bataclan concert venue, 50 boulevard Voltaire, 11th district – stormed by several gunmen, at least 80 dead

    map of attack sites

    The attacks took place at six sites across Paris, mainly in the centre of the city

    What we know

    #Paris: Power, horror, and lies


    Meanwhile, not far from the Place de la Republique and the Place de la Bastille, three busy restaurants and a bar were targeted by gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs.

    Around 40 people were killed as customers were singled out at venues including a pizza restaurant and a Cambodian restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge.

    “We heard the sound of guns, 30-second bursts. It was endless. We thought it was fireworks,” Pierre Montfort, a resident living close to Le Petit Cambodge said.

    Media captionAmateur footage captured the panic at the Stade de France in Paris, following a reported suicide blast

    The other target was the Stade de France, on the northern fringe of Paris, where President Hollande and 80,000 other spectators were watching a friendly international between France and Germany, with a TV audience of millions more.

    The president was whisked to safety after the first of at least two explosions just outside the venue to convene an emergency cabinet meeting. Three attackers were reportedly killed there.

    As the extent of the bloodshed became clear, Mr Hollande went on national TV to announce a state of emergency for the first time in France since 2005. The decree enables the authorities to close public places and impose curfews and restrictions on the movement of traffic and people.

     Ben Grant: “There were a lot of dead people… it was horrific”

    Paris residents have been asked to stay indoors and about 1,500 military personnel are being deployed across the city.

    All schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools and markets will be shut on Saturday as well as Disneyland Paris. All sporting fixtures in the affected area of Paris have also been cancelled, AFP reports.

    Police believe all of the gunmen are dead – seven killed themselves with explosives vests and one was shot dead by the security forces – but it is unclear if any accomplices are still on the run.

    US President Barack Obama spoke of “an outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians”.

    UK PM David Cameron said he was shocked and pledged to do “whatever we can to help”.

    The Vatican called it “an attack on peace for all humanity” and said “a decisive, supportive response” was needed “on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all its forms”.

    Spectators invade the pitch of the Stade de France stadium after the international friendly soccer France against Germany  

    Spectators flooded the pitch of the Stade de France after the France v Germany football match as news of the attacks spread
    Rescuers evacuate people following an attack in the 10th arrondissement of the French capital Paris  

    Rescuers evacuate people following one of the attacks
    General view of the scene with rescue service personnel  

    Witnesses have been speaking of “carnage”

    Analysis: BBC’s Europe correspondent Damian Grammaticas

    It’s just 10 months since Paris was the scene of multiple terrorist attacks, first the massacre of staff at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and then a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket.

    What happened in Paris on Friday night is exactly what Europe’s security services have long feared, and tried to foil. Simultaneous, rolling attacks, with automatic weapons and suicide bombers in the heart of a major European city, targeting multiple, crowded public locations.

    The tactics have been used before, in Mumbai and elsewhere. But how they’ve come to Europe is one of many questions that will have to be answered.

    Were the attackers French citizens? If so, how they were radicalised, armed and organised – was it in France, in Syria, and by whom? Why weren’t they detected? Is France, after two major attacks this year, uniquely vulnerable or does the carnage in Paris mean all of Europe faces new threats to our public places and events? And if a Syrian link is proven, will France recoil from that conflict or will it redouble its commitment to the fight against radical groups there?


    Are you in the area? Have you been affected by what has been happening? Do you have any information you can share? If it is safe to do so, you can get in touch by emailing [email protected].

    Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

    • WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971
    • Send pictures/video to [email protected]
    • Upload your pictures / video here
    • Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
    • Send an SMS or MMS to +44 7624 800 100

      Paris attackers most likely backed and trained by Islamic State in Iraq or Syria, says security expert

      Posted about an hour ago

      A security expert says it is “extremely unlikely” that the eight men who carried out the Paris attacks could have done so without military training in Iraq or Syria.

      The latest reports out of France suggest there were three teams involved in the weekend’s attacks that left 129 people dead.

      Neil Fergus, the chief executive of the security consultancy Intelligent Risk Group, said it appeared the terrorists had a significant support team.

      “There’s no doubt that they… certainly had accomplices that had done reconnoitring of those sites, and that means they had logisticians, transport people, they undoubtedly had a safe house, or indeed, multiple safe houses, people who procured the motor vehicles,” he said.

      “They had to have transported weapons, not just side-arms of course.

      “We know that they had Kalashnikovs, AK-47 long-arms, explosives, TATP explosives themselves have to be transported carefully and of course they were constructed into suicide vests or belts either before being sent to France, or Belgium and then to France, or in France.”

      Mr Fergus is certain the terrorists were trained by Islamic State in the Middle East, either in Iraq or Syria.

      “There have been improvised training camps in France that the French authorities have detected before, but this type of operation, these types of activities in which these eight perpetrators were involved evidence a great deal more sophistication in terms of training and experience,” he said.

      “For example we have eyewitness accounts of the way that they went about their evil business in the theatre, with one person providing very professional cover of the main assailant as he systematically executed people in that theatre.”

      He said the type of operation suggested a great deal of sophistication in terms of training and experience.

      What modus operandi was used to be able to plan and execute this operation in this way? It has implications for (Australia), and we need to study it carefully.

      Neil Fergus, chief executive of the Intelligent Risk Group

      “It’s not ad hoc training in a forest firing at some targets.

      “That’s people who have gone through proper military training, and indeed, as I said before, almost certainly, to do that sort of callous cold-blooded operation, they have been blooded in the fields of Syria or northern Iraq.”

      Mr Fergus said it was impossible to be certain, but knowing the very hierarchical, compartmentalised structure of IS, the operation was almost certainly authorised by Islamic State’s senior leadership group in the Middle East.

      “It would be almost inconceivable to think that a local cell would be able to gather all of the resources and capabilities, some of which are clearly from offshore, outside of France, to put this together,” he said.

      Security lessons for Australia

      Mr Fergus said the attack’s success pointed to a failure of intelligence in France.

      “What is incredible is that an attack, or a set of attacks of this nature and this complexity, were planned and executed without intelligence services in the region, or indeed in Europe, getting apparently any inkling, any indication that such a scale of operation would be in prospect,” he said.

      “The more people that are involved in an operation, the more likely that intelligence services will detect something is afoot.”

      Mr Fergus said there were security lessons Australia can learn from the attack.

      “I have no doubt that the senior security authorities in Australia, including Duncan Lewis, director-general of ASIO, will be keenly looking to French liaisons to understand their post-event analyses, particularly on whether there had been intelligence that had been missed, or indeed whether the perpetrators have exercised a heightened level of security to such an extent that they did slip under the radar.

      “And that has some implications not just for Australia but for the rest of the civilised world.

      “What modus operandi was used to be able to plan and execute this operation in this way?

      “It has implications for us, and we need to study it carefully.”

      Topics: terrorism, unrest-conflict-and-war, security-intelligence, defence-and-national-security, france, syrian-arab-republic, iraq

Aussie Peter Scully to face Philippines court on ‘depraved’ paedophilia charges; videos allegedly featured rape, torture


By North Asia correspondent Matthew Carney

An Australian man will face a Philippines court tomorrow to enter a plea on paedophilia charges described by authorities there as “depraved”.

Peter Scully allegedly ran an international paedophile ring from Mindanao in the Southern Philippines that raped, tortured and murdered children.

One victim was only 18 months old.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details which may be disturbing for some readers.

Scully first moved to Cagayan de Oro on the island of Mindanao in 2011.

Exploiting the poverty and desperation right on his doorstep, Scully approached Arlene Loyola and offered to give her eight-year-old daughter education and food.

Ms Loyola accepted the offer, but after two weeks she began to worry.

“I prayed and God told me to get her away from Scully and I did,” Ms Loyola told 7.30.

When Ms Loyola got her daughter back she had been bashed and badly bruised. Scully had repeatedly drugged and raped the girl.

Ms Loyola blames herself.

“I feel so ashamed and asked forgiveness from my child because she suffered so much,” she said, sobbing.

“She just wanted to go to school.

“I can’t sleep; I just can’t stop thinking about what happened to her.”

Customers paid $10,000 to view torture videos

But this was just the tip of the iceberg of Scully’s depravity.

Officers of the Philippines Bureau of Investigation showed 7.30 a dark old house with high walls in another part of Cagayan de Oro.

It was here Scully made the videos called The Destruction of Daisy.

He was selling the videos to online customers around the world for up to $10,000 a view.

We are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good.

Prosecutor Eric Nuqui

The full details of what happened at this house are too shocking to reveal.

But Angelito Magno, one of the lead investigators, gave 7.30 an insight.

“In one of these videos was an 18-month-old baby girl who was hanged upside down,” he said.

“She was crying all the time she was being tortured.”

Demand was so great for these sickening videos that six other foreigners, mainly from Europe, started to fund Scully.

But one made-to-order video proved to be Scully’s undoing.

In it, two girls, one 12 years old and the other 13, were forced to dig their own graves while being raped.

Mr Magno said the girls eventually led them to Scully.

“The two girls were able to escape and seek police assistance while they were still wearing chains, chains to their necks,” he said.

Mr Magno was part of the international team that arrested 51-year-old Scully in February, charging him on multiple counts of sexual abuse, cyber sex, torture, rape, human trafficking and murder.

In Manila, an investigation team is gathering all the evidence before the trial formally starts later this year.

They now have seven victims under witness protection who will testify against Scully in court.

Prosecutors confident Scully will go ‘away for good’

Eric Nuqui works at the Philippines Investigation Bureau and will be one of the lawyers who will be leading the trial against Scully.

“With the overwhelming evidence we have and with the prosecutors handling the case, we are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good,” he told 7.30.

The team in Manila and the Australian Federal Police are now working to identify and prosecute Scully’s customers around the world.

They have evidence that an Australian man offered Scully about $2,500 to rape a 13-year-old girl.

While the capture of Scully has been a success for the Philippines Bureau of Investigation, the reality is, with limited manpower and resources, they are struggling to cope with the flood of paedophiles entering the Philippines.

The Australian Federal Police say 250 Australians convicted of child sex offences have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years.

But Philippines authorities say they know of only 10.

Mr Nuqui said there was a problem in coordination in the Philippines.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m yet to receive information,” he said.

“Maybe they’re providing information to other (Philippines) agencies and we are not able to access it.”


Philippines police arrest, prepare to deport Australian fugitive accused of child molestation

Posted 27 Mar 2015, 11:24am

An Australian fugitive wanted for molesting a young girl in Australia has been arrested in Manila and will be deported from the Philippines.

Philippines immigration officials stopped 39-year-old Roy Woodward upon his arrival in an airport in Manila from Sydney.

An alert posted by Australian Interpol said Mr Woodward had been accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl and was set for sentencing by a local Australian court.

Following the arrest, an immigration intelligence official said Manila should keep a closer watch out for paedophiles and fugitives.

Another Australian, Peter Gerard Scully, is facing charges for the murder of a 12-year-old girl and sexual abuse of 11 children in the southern Philippines.

The Melbourne man is the key suspect in one of the most horrifying paedophile rings uncovered by police in the Philippines.

Mr Scully allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his alleged crimes online.

If he is found guilty he will face life in prison.

The National Bureau of Investigation has launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to have been working with Mr Scully since 2011.

The Philippines is a major hub of the billion-dollar global child cybersex industry due to its widespread poverty and legal loopholes.

The Philippines Justice Department secretary Leila de Lima last year said online child abuse was the leading cyber-related crime in the Philippines and made up 46 per cent of more than 200 cases.


Australian Federal Police says 250 Australians with child sex convictions travelled to Philippines in last four years

Updated 13 Apr 2015, 5:02pm

About 250 Australians with child sex convictions have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has revealed.

Filipino police are currently pursuing a case against Australian man Peter Gerard Scully for what they allege are some of the worst child sex offences in the nation’s history.

The AFP was involved in the investigation and arrest and says 250 known Australian child sex offenders travelled to the Philippines in the past four years.

A spokesman has told the ABC that Australia alerts Filipino authorities when a sex offender boards a flight, but it is up to them whether to refuse entry.

Scully, 51, who has no previous convictions for child sex abuse, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing 11 children aged between 18 months and 13 years.

He allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his crimes online, where the AFP says he charged between $US100 and $US10,000 for the videos he filmed.

The Melbourne man has also been charged with the murder of one of his alleged victims, a 12-year-old girl, along with rape, torture, human trafficking and violating cyber laws.

On Saturday, authorities in the Philippines said Scully was working with foreign accomplices in his child pornography operation and launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to be involved.

The Australian embassy held an emergency meeting late last week in relation to the case.

Editor’s note 13/4/2015: An earlier version of this story said 250 Australian sex offenders had travelled to the Philippines in the last year.

Sydney terror raid-Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, and Mohammad Kiad, 25, arrested, hunting knife and flag seized


Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year

Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year

Friggin wannabe terrorists or facebook heroes by the look of them. Do not be deceived though, this is real and current and can bee happening in your very own street…Obviously they were not very clever pre posting a video leading to their arrest, amateurs really. But that is the way of the lone wolf it seems.

Sydney terror raid: Two men arrested, hunting knife and flag seized

Machete, flag and video found in terror raid
  • Two men arrested at Fairfield home hours before atrocity, say police
  • Machete, large hunting knife and IS flag seized.
  • Video, allegedly featuring one of the men, referred to IS attack
  • Neighbours described their ‘disbelief’ and ‘fear’
  • Premier Mike Baird said details of the plot were ‘beyond disturbing’

THE two men arrested in terror raids yesterday had been living in a small granny flat at the back of a share house in Fairfield, where neighbours today spoke of their disbelief.

Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, and Mohammad Kiad, 25, were arrested at the flat on Riverview Rd, Fairfield about 4pm yesterday by the Joint Counter Terrorism Taskforce after a receiving information that an attack was imminent.

Police allege the pair had armed themselves with a machete and large hunting knife and were due to carry out a terror attack yesterday before police swooped.

Mohammad Kiad was arrested at his Fairfield home yesterday. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Mohammad Kiad. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Omar al-Kutobi and Mohammad Kiad. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Mohammad Kiad and Omar al-Kutobi. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Terror suspect Mohammad Kiad. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year. Pitcutre: Supplied. Source: Supplied

THE NEIGHBOUR

Roberto Macatangay has lived in a caravan at the back of the property and said he knew Mr Al-Kutobi, a computer science student, for about three years.

He said Mohammad Kiad moved into the property only last year.

“I’m scared that I’m living with these people, “ Mr Macatangay said. “They seemed to be really nice. They were sarcastic people but I didn’t mind that. We used to joke about religion, about Mohammad and Jesus Christ.”

The granny flat and car on Riverview street in Fairfield. Picture: Supplied

The granny flat and car on Riverview street in Fairfield. Picture: Supplied Source: News Corp Australia

The granny flat in Fairfield where two men hatched a plot to carry out a terror plot. Pic

The granny flat in Fairfield where two men hatched a plot to carry out a terror plot. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The Fairfield house from the outside. Picture: Google

The Fairfield house from the outside. Picture: Google Source: Supplied

Mr Macatangay said he did not believe Kiad worked full-time, but may have been studying for a forklift licence, and often visited a nearby recreational centre to do weight-lifting.

The 25-year-old has permanent residency in Australia and Al-Kutobi was granted Australian citizenship last year, he said.

 They don’t mingle much
Manueal Abello, tenant in the main house 

On his Facebook site, Kiad listed himself as married but Mr Macatangay said the couple separated last year when he moved in with Al-Kutobi.

Neighbour Roberto Macatangay said he was ‘scared’ living next to two terror suspects. Pic

Neighbour Roberto Macatangay said he was ‘scared’ living next to two terror suspects. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Inside the Fairfield granny flat raided by police yesterday. Two men have been charged wi

Inside the Fairfield granny flat raided by police yesterday. Two men have been charged with plotting a terror attack. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The facade of the granny flat where the plan was hatched. Picture: Supplied.

The facade of the granny flat where the plan was hatched. Picture: Supplied. Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Macatangay, a pensioner who moved to Australia from Hong Kong three years ago, said he was at home when heavily armed police stormed the property yesterday afternoon.

They carried out a search warrant at the property, sifting through the granny flat and Mohammad’s car, parked in the street, until the early hours of this morning.

“I was totally surprised and really scared because the gun was pointing at me,” Mr Macatangay said.

“I was watching TV in my caravan and suddenly the electrics turned off. I saw the police, they had their faces covered up with helmet and heavy machine gun. I didn’t know what was happening.

“They asked me about the people living there.”

The small, white granny flat remained locked yesterday. A small religious prayer flag could be seen hanging in a back room of the flat, along with study books, clothes and drawers that had been pulled out and left on the floor.

A car belonging to one of the two men charged with plotting a terror attack remains on th

A car belonging to one of the two men charged with plotting a terror attack remains on the street after being searched by police. Source: News Corp Australia

THE TENANT AND THE OWNER

The owner of the property said Kiad and Al-Kutobi rented the two-bedroom granny flat at the back of the property for about $200 a week.

She said she had never been inside as they always kept it locked up.

Manuel Abello, a tenant in the main house, said the pair were nice but very private.

“They don’t mingle much,” he said.

“I never expected this at all. They are quite nice. Very rarely they have guests.” Kiad’s car is still parked out the front of the Fairfield property, with finger printing dust the only tell-tale signs of the police search on Tuesday.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commis

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan address the media. Picture: AAP Image/Ava Benny-Morrison. Source: AAP

THE LAW

Police raided the men’s home and searched a car and where they work. Both men were charged with undertaking acts in preparation of planning a terrorist act and will face court this morning.

A number of items were seized in the raids including a machete, a hunting knife, a home-made flag representing terrorist organisation IS and a video which depicted a man talking about carrying out an attack.

Fairfield Local Court heard the pair have spoken with a lawyer, but he is unavailable to appear for them in court today.

The pair’s legal aid lawyer didn’t apply for bail on the mens’ behalf and it was formally refused by magistrate Vivien Swain. The men did not appear in court after asking not to be brought up from the cells.

Commonwealth DPP prosecutor Michael Allnut, centre, arriving at Fairfield court today whe

Commonwealth DPP prosecutor Michael Allnut, centre, arriving at Fairfield court today where two men appeared on terror charges. Picture: Ross Schultz Source: News Corp Australia

Commonwealth prosecutor Michael Allnutt told the court the matter should be moved to Central Local Court due to “security issues.”

 We believe the men were potentially going to….kill somebody
Catherine Burn 

Two sheriffs officers today were searching bags and scanning every person who entered the complex ahead of the appearance of the two men.

Magistrate Vivienne Swain adorned the case until tomorrow, when both bail applications are expected to be heard.

A terror plot foiled last year allegedly involved kidnapping a person from Martin Place a

A terror plot foiled last year allegedly involved kidnapping a person from Martin Place and executing them. Picture: Bradley Hunter Source: News Corp Australia

The men will be assisted in their applications by an Arabic interpreter.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said it will be alleged that the two were going to undertake an act of terrorism in Australia as revenge for incidents overseas.

“What we are going to allege is consistent with the IS messaging,” she said.

“We believe that the men were potentially going to harm somebody, maybe even kill somebody, and potentially using one of the items that we identified and recovered yesterday, potentially a knife.”

She added that police will allege the attack was due to be carried out yesterday, with a video shaping to be a key piece of evidence.

Police do not know the nature of the alleged terrorist’s target but urged people to remain vigilant, whether that be police, military or the general public.

“And a really, really important message about that vigilance is that everybody needs to remain alert and no matter what that piece of information is, it is really helpful,” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.

Marcia Mikhael crying while holding a flag inside the Lindt Cafe. Souce: Channel 7.

Marcia Mikhael crying while holding a flag inside the Lindt Cafe. Source: Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

The pair were not known to police, and police say they were only made aware of the planned activity recently.

AFP deputy commissioner Michael Phelan said the threat was acted on as quickly as possible.

Premier Mike Baird said he could not comment on what the accused terrorists were planning, but said it was “beyond disturbing”.

“I was very concerned. You can’t help but be on edge given the events that we have seen last December, the events we’ve seen around the world. This is an ongoing battle, an ongoing fight,” Mr Baird said.

The Premier thanked police for foiling the terror plot.

Police in a previous raid last year spoke of a plot to behead someone in Martin Place. It is understood that alleged plot involved abducting a random Australian, executing them by beheading in a public place, possibly Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD, and filming the act and posting it on social media.

Australian fugitive Khaled Sharrouf who fled Australia to fight with Islamic extremist in

Australian fugitive Khaled Sharrouf who fled Australia to fight with Islamic extremist insurgents in Syria seen with other ISIS extremists. Source: News Corp Australia

 Story by

Artist and wife of embassy official Jane Hardy, Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child


After months and months of diplomatic bullshit at our expense, this sick pervert is going down.A sleazy “Artist” again, happened to be married to an Aussie diplomat. So what happens, Harm minimisation of course to the image…Fuck that…read on

Husband of Australian diplomat to stand trial on child sex offences

January 15, 2015 – 11:30AM

Courts reporter for The Canberra Times.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

The husband of a top Australian diplomat accused of molesting a child while overseas has been committed to stand trial.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, maintained pleas of not guilty to three charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The offences are alleged to have occurred overseas, but are before the ACT courts as the charges fall under Commonwealth law.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker on Thursday committed him to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court.

Kapociunas was arrested at Canberra Airport in September last year.

Court documents said the allegation surfaced after the girl told her mother that the artist kept kissing her.

When questioned further, the girl allegedly said he “kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing at her groin.

The mother reported the conversation to the Australian Federal Police.

Kapociunas, in a police interview, allegedly acknowledged he had had physical contact with the girl that included kissing in greeting and farewelling, piggy-back rides, and blowing raspberries on her belly button.

But he denied abusing the girl.

He was originally charged with one count of child sex and first appeared in court in October.

Two additional charges were laid in December.

The painter and sculptor is married to top Australian diplomat, Jane Hardy, who, in November, ceased her role as Australia’s ambassador to Spain and returned home almost two years into a three-year appointment.

Ms Hardy’s identity and diplomatic position were previously subject to a court suppression order, but that has now been lifted.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy.

Lithuanian-born Kapociunas studied art in South Australian and lived Spain, France and Britain before he wed Ms Hardy in 1982.

He has since accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Malaysia, South Korean, the United States, and Spain .

He work has been exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

On Thursday, Ms Walker continued the defendants bail, but added the condition that he notify the court if he changes address.

The case will appear in the Supreme Court for directions next month.


 

Australian diplomat returned from posting after husband charged over child-sex allegations

January 14, 2015 – 4:31PM

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

One of Australia’s top diplomats has returned early from an overseas posting after her spouse was arrested and charged with child sex offences. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that Jane Hardy ceased duty as Australia’s ambassador to Spain on November 3, 2014, less than two years into what would normally be a three-year appointment.

A DFAT spokesperson declined to answer Fairfax Media questions about the precise circumstances leading to the ambassador’s return to Australia, only saying Ms Hardy “returned by mutual agreement with the department.”

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

However it is a matter of public record that the Australian Federal Police arrested Ms Hardy’s husband, artist Vytas Kapociunas, on September 20, 2014, in relation to an allegation of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia. 

Mr Kapociunas, now aged 71, appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court in Canberra on October 3 in relation to one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia. Two additional charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia were laid against Mr Kapociunas in December. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. 

The sculptor and painter first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the child said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

The AFP say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl allegedly said: “He kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing to her groin.

The mother contacted the AFP who opened an investigation and interviewed the girl.

Mr Kapociunas was informed of the allegations on September 17 and was met by AFP officers at Canberra Airport three days later.  He agreed to an interview in which, according to police, he acknowledged he had met the girl three times and had physical contact with her including kissing.  However he denied he had committed any child sex offences, saying he was “unsure” why the girl would say such things. He was then arrested. 

Born in Lithuania in 1943, Mr Kapociunas studied at the South Australian School of Art and spent his early post-graduate years in Spain, France and Britain . He married Ms Hardy in 1982 and accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Washington DC and most recently Madrid.  In 2008 his sculpture Passage through Fire was exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

Ms Hardy’s identity and position were subject to a temporary court suppression order, now no longer in force. not anymore

DFAT has emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy who assumed duty as ambassador to Spain in January 2013.

“Ms Hardy performed creditably in her role in Spain and, following her return, has taken up a suitably senior position in Canberra,” a departmental spokesperson said.

DFAT’s organisation chart shows Ms Hardy is now in charge of the department’s arms control and counter-proliferation branch.

Her executive assistant told Fairfax Media she is not currently in Canberra and cannot be contacted.

A new ambassador to Spain has not yet been appointed.

Mr Kapociunas’s solicitor, Chloe Preston, declined to comment. His case is listed for a further procedural hearing in the Magistrates Court on January 15.


 

Artist pleads not guilty to child sex offences allegedly linked to overseas Australian embassy

Date
December 4, 2014

Reporter for The Canberra Times.

An Australian artist has been accused of two more sexual offences against a child connected to an overseas Australian embassy.

Sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, is facing the ACT Magistrates Court, accused of molesting a child overseas.

He was charged on Thursday with two additional offences of sexual intercourse with a minor outside of Australia, meaning he is now charged with three offences.

Kapociunas, represented by lawyer Chloe Preston, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He first came to police attention when his alleged victim told her mother she had a secret.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl allegedly said.

“I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

She also allegedly told her mother:

“He kisses me on the lips and here”, pointing to her groin.

Police went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport earlier this year and he agreed to an interview, court documents suggest.

He told police he had no idea why the girl had been saying such things. Kapociunas denied her allegations.

He was arrested and initially charged with a single count of having sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, which is a Commonwealth offence.

The artist allegedly told police he piggy-backed the girl, blew raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

The case was adjourned by Magistrate Robert Cook until January.


 

Artist Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child linked to overseas embassy

October 17, 2014

Christopher Knaus

An Australian artist has been accused of molesting a child connected to an overseas embassy.

Well-known sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, was arrested earlier this year after a young girl at an Australian embassy alleged he sexually assaulted her.

Kapociunas, who is fighting the allegation, first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

Police say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl said:

“He kisses me on the lips, and here”, pointing to her groin.

The offence is alleged to have occurred overseas, but is now being prosecuted in the ACT under Commonwealth law.

The mother called the Australian Federal Police, who began investigating, and went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport last month.

He agreed to an interview and denied the allegations, claiming he had no idea why the girl would say such things.

Police arrested the artist, and he is currently before the ACT Magistrates Court on one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, an offence under the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

He appeared before Magistrate Peter Morrison on Friday morning, and pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf.

The artist told police during an interview that he had piggy-backed the victim and blown raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

But he denied to police that he had committed any child sex offences.

The court heard on Friday the brief of evidence against him was mostly prepared, and the case was adjourned until December. 

Kapociunas is an artist who has worked across Australia and the world, and studied and taught in South Australia.

He has also studied at the University of Canberra, according to his earlier news reports, and has written children’s books.


 

Gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed in Paris grocery store siege


Charlie Hebdo attack: gunmen killed after police storm hide-out January 10, 2015 3:47PM

  • Kouachi brothers shot dead in overnight siege
  • Gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed in Paris grocery store siege
  • Four Paris grocery store hostages declared dead
  • Third siege at a jewellery store in south of France underway, police say not related to Charlie Hebdo massacre
  • Female terror suspect still at large

SEVEN people have been killed in two sieges across France overnight, including the two brothers accused of slaying 12 people at a Paris newspaper, another gunman and four innocent captives.

The two groups of terrorists had seized hostages at separate locations around the French capital on Friday, facing off against thousands of French security forces as the city shut down a famed Jewish neighbourhood and scrambled to protect residents and tourists from further attacks.

HOSTAGE: ‘I was spared for being a woman’

CHARB’S GIRLFRIEND: ‘I knew he would be assassinated’

The moment police move in

Moving in … The moment police storm into the Kosher supermarket. Picture: France 2 Source: Supplied

Risky operation ... Police rush to get the rescued hostages to safety. Picture: Snapper M

Risky operation … Police rush to get the rescued hostages to safety. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

A female terror suspect, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, remains at large as authorities scramble to end the three days of terror that have gripped France.

Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of slain gunman Coulibaly, is believed to have fled during the supermarket siege which saw four hostages killed.

A third siege, which saw two people held hostage at a jewellery store in Montpellier, south of France has now ended after the man holding them surrended to police.

RT News reports that the two hostages have not been harmed and that Montpellier prosecutor, Christophe Barret, said there was no attempted robbery and stressed that the situation in Montpellier was not connected to the earlier events in Paris and in Northern France.

Free ... French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault a

Free … French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

Enferno ... Members of the French police special forces launch an assault at a kosher gro

Enferno … Members of the French police special forces launch an assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

al-Qaeda Yemen claims responsibility for Paris magazine attack

Meanwhile, a member of the al-Qaeda Yemen branch- speaking on the condition of anonymity — has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack.

He told The Associated Press that the massacre was carried out as “revenge for the honour” of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

TIMELINE OF TERROR: France rocked by three days of terrorism

The terrorist organisation has also released a chilling new warning for France, threatening the nation with fresh attacks.

“It is better for you to stop your aggression against the Muslims, so perhaps you will live safely. If you refuse but to wage war, then wait for the glad tiding,” sharia official leader Harith al-Nadharisaid in an audio clip released by AQAP.

The three gunmen have also been deemed “heroes” by Islamic State group radio.

First siege: Printworks office in Dammartin-en-Goële

At the first stand-off, explosions and gunshots rang out and white smoke rose outside a printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, where brothers Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, had holed up with a hostage.

The brothers were shot dead by special forces as they reportedly burst out of their hide-out.

Security forces had surrounded the building for most of the day.

Their hostage, identified as Michel Catalano, is believed to have been rescued alive.

Suspect's Wanted In Connection With Attack At The Satirical Weekly Charlie Hebdo

Killed … Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects Said Kouachi, 34 (left) and Cherif Kouachi, 32, have been killed. Picture: Direction centrals de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images Source: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Scene ... smoke rises as a special forces soldiers storm a printing warehouse on an indus

Scene … smoke rises as a special forces soldiers storm a printing warehouse on an industrial estate where the Charlie Hebdo massacre terrorists sought refuge. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Second siege: Kosher grocery store in Vincennes

Moments after police surrounded the Kouachi brothers outside Paris, explosions were heard at a second siege, where another Islamic militant gunman was threatening to kill his hostages if the brothers were injured.

Gunman Amedy Coulibay spoke to French TV station BFM during the siege, saying he had taken 16 people hostage at a kosher grocery store, selected specifically “because it was Jewish”.

Free ... Hostages are rescued after being held hostage in the grocery store. Picture: Sna

Free … Hostages are rescued after being held hostage in the grocery store. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

He said four of his captives were dead.

He told the station he had “co-ordinated” with the suspected Charlie Hebdo attackers and belonged to the Islamic State group.

BFM released the recording of the conversation, which was translated from French by The Guardian.

In the clip, the anchor explains that a BFM reporter called the print works office the Kouachi brothers had taken over, and managed to secure a conversation with the younger brother, Cerif Kouachi. This is what he said:

Tense standoff ... Police had to move quickly after Gunman Amedy Coulibay said he would s

Tense standoff … Police had to move quickly after Gunman Amedy Coulibay said he would shoot all the hostages if the brothers were killed. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

“We just want to say that we are the defenders of the prophet, and that I, Cherif Kouachi, was sent by al-Qaeda in Yemen. And that I went there and that it was Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki who financed me”, adding that the visit took place before Awlaki was killed.

Later that day, BFM got a call from Amedy Coulibaly, who wanted to be in contact with the police. Their conversation is below.

BFM: Are you in touch with the two brothers who conducted the operation at Charlie Hebdo?

Coulibaly: Yes. We synchronised our operations.

BFM: Are you still in touch with them? Have you recently spoken with them by phone?

Coulibaly: No.

BFM: How were you synchronised with the Kouachis? Are there further attacks planned?

Coulibaly: No, we only synchronised to kickstart things: so when they started Charlie Hebdo, I started on the police officers.

On the run ... Hayat Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of dead gunman, Gunman Amedy Coulibay, m

On the run … Hayat Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of dead gunman, Gunman Amedy Coulibay, managed to escape. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

He also tells the TV channel that he has killed four of his 16 hostages, a fact later confirmed by French interior minister Bernard Cazenueve with the following tweet by French news source infos140: “B. Cazeneuve confirms the results from 5 deaths (including A. Coulibaly) and 4 wounded, Porte de Vincennes (France 2)”.

Coulibay, who was suspected of killing a police officer yesterday, was shot dead by police.

An official said the two sets of hostage-takers knew each other.

Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. Picture: Direction centrale de la Police judiciaire via Getty Imag

Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. Picture: Direction centrals de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Amedy Coulibaly, 32. Picture: Direction centrale de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images

Amedy Coulibaly, 32. Picture: Direction centrals de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images Source: Getty Images

France on high-alert

The French ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, has sent a series of Tweets confirming reports that two of the terror suspects were killed, according to “his information”.

France has been on high alert since the country’s worst terror attack in decades — the massacre on Wednesday in Paris at Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead.

At the kosher grocery near the Porte de Vincennes neighbourhood in Paris, the gunman, Amedy Coulibay, burst in shooting just a few hours before the Jewish Sabbath began, declaring “You know who I am,” the official recounted.

The official said Coulibay is also believed responsible for the roadside killing of a Paris policewoman on Thursday.

Paris police released a photo of Coulibaly and a second suspect, a woman named Hayet Boumddiene, who the official said was his accomplice and girlfriend.

Several people wounded when the gunman opened fire in the kosher grocery were able to flee and get medical care, the official said.

Police said 100 students were under lockdown in schools nearby and the highway ringing Paris was closed.

Evacuation ... French police special forces evacuated businesses and other properties in

Evacuation … French police special forces evacuated businesses and other properties in Porte de Vincennes when a gunman opened fire at a kosher grocery store. Picture: AFP/Martin Bureau Source: AFP

Hours before and 40 kilometres away, a convoy of police trucks, helicopters and ambulances streamed toward Dammartin-en-Goele, a small industrial town near Charles de Gaulle Airport, to seize the Charlie Hebdo suspects, who had hijacked a car in a nearby town after more than two days on the run.

“They said they want to die as martyrs,” Yves Albarello, a local lawmaker who said he was inside the command post, told French television station i-Tele.

Siege ... a helicopter of the French Special Police Forces waits in fields surrounding an

Siege … a helicopter of the French Special Police Forces waits in fields surrounding an industrial estate where the Charlie Hebdo attack suspects were hiding out. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Leaders respond to tragedy

French President Francois Hollande has confirmed that four people were killed in the siege in the Vincennes supermarket in a live televised address on Friday.

“I want to congratulate the courage, the bravery of the police officers of all those that participated in these operations,” he said. “I want to say to them we are proud of them.”

He also described the attack on the kosher supermarket as “anti-Semitic”.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama rallied to the support of France on Friday after the bloody end to hostage sieges in Paris, vowing to offer all assistance to combat the threat of militant Islamists.

“I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow,” Obama said at a speaking engagement in Tennessee, describing France as America’s “oldest ally”.

Network Writers and AP

Charlie Hebdo shooting: 12 people killed, 11 injured, in attack on satirical newspaper


A disgusting barbaric and gutless attack on the whole of society. I hope they round up these savages quickly and bring them to justice. Freedom of speech is the very fibre of a free society. WE must never ever fold to the threat of terrorism!If anyone in Australia has a thread of sympathy for the cause of these terrorists. get the hell out of our country now. Watch as they assassinate this policeman point blank.

updated 10th Jan 2015

Charlie Hebdo suspects among three gunmen killed as French police end hostage stand-offs in Paris and Dammartin-en-Goele

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Sat 10 Jan 2015, 1:57pm

French police have killed three gunmen, including two brothers suspected of shooting dead 12 people in an attack at the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Cherif and Said Kouachi were at the centre of a stand-off at a printing business in an industrial area in Dammartin-en-Goele, around 40 kilometres from an area which was subject to intense police searches on Thursday.

Police stormed the building several hours after a car chase that saw shots fired. A hostage was freed unhurt. It has been reported the gunmen came out firing when police moved in.

In a simultaneous assault, dozens of heavily armed officers stormed a kosher grocery store in eastern Paris where a gunman with links to the same Islamist group as the Kouachi brothers had taken several people hostage.

Explosions were heard shortly before television pictures showed a number of people being freed.

The gunman was shot dead and four hostages were killed. Two officers were injured as police forced their way into the store.

After police brought the sieges to an end, French president Francois Hollande called for unity and vigilance from his countrymen.

“With the prime minister I have further strengthened the means to protect public places. But we must be vigilant. I also call upon unity because as I have expressed before… it is our best weapon,” he said.

“Today in a kosher supermarket it was a terrible act that was committed. The people who committed the acts, these fanatics, have got nothing to do with the Muslim religion.”

Mr Hollande has invited a number of world leaders to a “great gathering” on Sunday, when he has called for “all French men and women to rise”.

Police said the gunman in the grocery store was believed to be connected to the killing of a policewoman at a metro station on Thursday and released mugshots of Amedy Coulibaly, 32, and Hayat Boumeddiene, 26.

Coulibaly knew at least one of the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a source told French news agency Agency France-Press.

It is understood police are still searching for Boumeddiene.

The exact number of hostages in the grocery store siege was unclear, but local media reported at least five were held.

A security source said Coulibaly shot two people as soon as he entered the store, and had “one or more bags” of explosives with him but did not detonate them.

He had tried to booby-trap the entrance to the shop “but had not hooked up the explosives”, the source added.

Police cordoned off the area in Port de Vincennes and interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve rushed to the scene.

Reports have surfaced that Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi were known to each other and were seen together in 2010 while visiting another jihadist, Djamel Beghal, the mastermind of a failed prison break-out plot.

Coulibaly was convicted for his role in the planned break-out and was well-known to anti-terrorist police.

Plan to ‘neutralise’ Charlie Hebdo gunmen

On Wednesday the two Kouchai brothers had stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo armed with Kalashnikov rifles.

They shot dead eight journalists, two police officers, a maintenance man and a visitor to the offices in the worst militant attack on French soil in decades.

The French government then launched a massive manhunt for the suspects, deploying 88,000 soldiers and police.

Mr Cazeneuve confirmed police had cornered the Kouachi brothers in Dammartin-en-Goele.

“An operation is underway which is set to neutralise the perpetrators of the cowardly attack carried out two days ago,” he said in a televised statement.

Helicopters were seen flying over an industrial zone outside the town where around 200 children from a pre-school, primary school and high school were evacuated to the town gymnasium.

Earlier, police had chased a vehicle at high speed along the A2 motorway towards Paris as authorities appeared to be closing in on the two brothers. Parts of the chase were broadcast live on TV as media vehicles followed closely behind police.

Gunshots rang out and police trucks, ambulances and armoured vehicles descended on the area close to Charles de Gaulle airport.

The Paris prosecutor denied French media reports that at least one person had been killed when the shots were fired during the car chase.

The previous night officers had focused their search on the woodland village of Corcy, not far from a service station where police sources said the brothers had been seen in ski masks.

Said and Cherif Kouachi were French-born sons of Algerian-born parents, both in their early 30s, and both were already under police surveillance.

One was jailed for 18 months for trying to travel to Iraq a decade ago to fight as part of an Islamist cell.

Police had described them as being “armed and dangerous”.

US and European sources close to the investigation said on Thursday that Said Kouachi was in Yemen in 2011 for several months training with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the group’s most active affiliates.

A Yemeni official familiar with the matter said the Yemen government was aware of the possibility of a connection between Said Kouachi and AQAP and was looking into any possible links.

US government sources said Said Kouachi and his brother were listed in two US security databases, a highly classified database containing information on 1.2 million possible counter-terrorism suspects, called TIDE, and the much smaller no-fly list maintained by the Terrorist Screening Centre, an interagency unit.

US television network ABC reported that the brothers had been listed in the databases for years.

Dave Joly, a spokesman for the Terrorist Screening Centre, said he could neither confirm nor deny if the Kouachis were listed in counter-terrorism databases.

Reuters/AFP

Keep watching after he drops, they run up to him and bang from less than a metre.

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Updated about 2 hours agoThu 8 Jan 2015, 11:49am

At least 12 people have been killed by gunmen reportedly armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher who opened fire in the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

French officials said 11 other people were injured, at least four seriously, in the shooting at the central Paris offices about 11.30am (local time) on Wednesday.

Two police officers and ten journalists are thought to have been killed.

It is understood the gunmen initially burst into number 6 rue Nicolas-Appert in a Paris neighbourhood, where the archives of the Charlie Hebdo are based, shouting “is this Charlie Hebdo?” before realising they had got the wrong address.

The men then moved quickly down the road to number 10 around noon (local time) and fired at reception staff before moving to the second floor where journalists and cartoonists were holding an editorial conference.

“The two men opened fire and coldly killed the people in the conference room, as well as the police officer in charge of protecting [cartoonist] Charb, who did not have time to react,” a police source said.

Only one person survived, by hiding under the table, according to police.

The deputy mayor of Paris, Patrick Klugman, said the killers knew exactly who they were looking for.

“Two shooters enter into the press room and pick the journalists, asked for their names, and shot bullets in their head,” he said.

A manhunt is underway for a total of three masked men who escaped the scene. Their hijacked getaway car was later found abandoned on the outskirts of the city.

A raid by France’s elite anti-terrorist unit was under way late on Wednesday in the north-eastern city of Reims.

A member of the anti-terror unit at the scene of the raid said either the suspects would be able to escape, or “there will be a showdown”.

According to a police source two of the gunmen are brothers from the Paris region. The third man is believed to be from Reims.

A police document identified the men as Said Kouachi, born in 1980, Cherif Kouachi, born in 1982, and Hamyd Mourad, born in 1996.

In a video filmed by journalist Martin Boudot, who was taking refuge on a nearby rooftop, the men can be heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) between rounds of gunfire.

Police said another witness heard the attackers shouting “we have avenged the prophet”.

Another short amateur video broadcast by French television stations showed two hooded men outside the building. One of them sees a wounded policeman lying on the ground and strides over to him to shoot him at point-blank range.

Video: Video of armed gunmen from a distance (ABC News)

In another clip on Television station iTELE, the attackers are heard shouting “We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed.”

The pair can then be seen calmly walking over to a black car before driving off.

The gunmen fled towards the eastern Paris suburbs after hijacking a car, police officials said.

It is the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades.

Charlie Hebdo has been at the centre of repeated controversy around its publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed and its offices were firebombed in 2011.

Dozens of police and emergency services were at the site as police secured a wide perimeter around the shooting scene, where a car could be seen riddled with bullet holes.

Police union official Rocco Contento described the scene inside the offices as “carnage”.

French president Francois Hollande rushed to the scene of the attack and the government said it was raising France’s security warning to the highest level.

“This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about it,” Mr Hollande said.

“An act of indescribable barbarity has just been committed today in Paris. Measures have been taken to find those responsible, they will be hunted for as long as it takes to catch them and bring them to justice.

“They will be pursued for as long as is necessary in order that they be arrested and put in front of a court and a judge so they can be prosecuted.”

A source close to the investigation said two men “armed with a Kalashnikov and a rocket-launcher” stormed the building and “fire was exchanged with security forces”.

The source said the gunmen hijacked a car and knocked over a pedestrian as they sped away.

A man who lived close to the newspaper’s offices described what he saw from the window.

“I was at home, I heard gunshots. At first I thought it was the Chinese New Year but it wasn’t the date. I looked through the window and I saw police officers playing hide and seek with the criminals and I understood it was a shooting,” he said.

“I saw people hiding in the subway station and I gathered something serious was going on.”

Sources at the newspaper said the deceased included co-founder and cartoonist Jean Cabut, editor-in-chief Stephane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier, deputy chief editor Bernard Maris, and cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Tignous.

“About a half an hour ago two black-hooded men entered the building with Kalashnikovs,” one witness told French iTELE TV News.

“A few minutes later we heard lots of shots,” he said, adding that the men were then seen fleeing the building.

Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is renowned for courting controversy with satirical attacks on political and religious leaders and has published numerous cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed.

The last tweet on its account mocked Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant Islamic State, which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The publication gained notoriety in February 2006 when it reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, causing fury across the Muslim world.

Its offices were fire-bombed in November 2011 when it published a cartoon of Mohammed under the title “Charia Hebdo”.

Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the magazine continued to publish controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet.

In September 2012 Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Mohammed as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film, titled “Innocence of Muslims”, which was made in the United States and insulted the prophet.

French schools, consulates and cultural centres in 20 Muslim countries were briefly closed along with embassies for fear of retaliatory attacks.

Mr Charbonnier had received death threats and lived under police protection.

‘Possibility of other attacks’

“There is possibility of other attacks and other sites are being secured,” Mr Contento said.

Sirens could be heard across Paris as prime minister Manuel Valls said security was being ramped up at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and department stores.

Danish media group JP/Politikens Hus, whose newspaper Jyllands-Posten has also published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, has increased its security level.

Jyllands-Posten published the cartoons in 2005, sparking a wave of protests across the Muslim world in which at least 50 died.

“If the perpetrators are still at large, we’re going to track them down, and we’re going to work with the French to do that,” a White House spokesman told MSNBC television.

World leaders were united in condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

British prime minister David Cameron described the attack as “sickening” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the shooting was not only an attack on French citizens, but on freedoms of press and speech.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said consular officials were in contact with French authorities to confirm no Australians were affected by the attack.

A Department spokesperson said Australians in Paris should remain vigilant and should follow the instructions of the French authorities.

Australians travelling to France are encouraged to monitor the travel advice on the Smart Traveller website.

Local Muslims denounce attackers as ‘barbarians’

France last year reinforced its anti-terrorism laws and was already on alert after calls from Islamist militants to attack its citizens and interests in reprisal for French military strikes on Islamist strongholds in the Middle East and Africa.

The attack, as yet unclaimed, comes amid what a number of commentators have identified as rising xenophobia in Europe, with thousands of protesters in several German cities rallying earlier this week against Muslim immigration.

France’s five-million-strong Muslim population is Europe’s largest.

“I am extremely angry. These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the French will come out united at the end of this,” said Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in the northern Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Late last year, a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” injured 13 people by ramming a vehicle into a crowd in the eastern city of Dijon.

French officials say several attacks were prevented in recent weeks.

The last major attack in Paris was in the mid-1990s when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) carried out a spate of attacks, including the bombing of a commuter train in 1995 which killed eight people and injured 150.

However, the Islamic State insurgent group praised Wednesday’s attack saying the raid was revenge for insults against Islam.

“The lions of Islam have avenged our Prophet,” Abu Mussab, a Syrian who fights with the Islamic State, said via an internet connection from Syria.

“These are our lions. It’s the first drops – more will follow,” he said. He added that he and his fellow fighters were happy about the incident.

ABC/Wires


Charlie Hebdo attack: Multiple fatalities in French newspaper shooting

January 08, 2015 2:08PM

THE youngest of three terrorists believed to be responsible for killing at least 12 people in the attack on a French satirical magazine has handed himself in, French police sources have said.

France’s elite anti-terrorism unit is believed to have cornered the terrorists at a property in the north-eastern city of Reims.

Earlier, a member of the unit hinted at a possible bloody outcome saying: “There will be a showdown”, as heavily armed officers surrounded the property following a massive manhunt after the offenders fled Charlie Hebdo newspaper’s Paris headquarters after gunning down 12 people.

Police surround a property in Reims where it is believed they have the terrorists cornere

Police surround a property in Reims which is believed to have been used by the three suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre Source: Supplied

The surrounded property is in the Reims suburb known as Croix-Rouge

The surrounded property is an apartment block in the Reims suburb known as Croix-Rouge Source: AFP

Residents wait outside as French police search the Reims apartment block

Residents wait outside as French police search the building for evidence relating to the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack Source: AFP

Police have identified three men, two Parisian brothers, 32 and 34, and another 18-year-old man they believe are responsible for the worst post-war terror attack in France.

Police have named Said Kouachi, Cherif Kouachi, Hamyd Mourad now believed to have fled to the north-eastern city of Reims.

It is understood French police discovered who the attackers were after finding an identity card in an abandoned getaway car.

French police have released new photographs of the wanted brothers: Cherif Kouachi (left)

French police have released new photographs of the wanted brothers: Cherif Kouachi (left) 32 and Said Kouachi, 34. Source: AFP

French magazine Le Point is reporting the two brothers had returned to France from Syria last month, and had ties to an Iraqi network in Paris encouraging young men to join militants in Iraq.

Cherif may have served prison time in 2008 for involvement in an Iraqi jihadist group operating out of France.

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspap

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office, in Paris.  Source: AP

Armed ... Armed gunmen face police officers near the offices of the French satirical news

Violent … armed gunmen face police officers near the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Picture: AFP/Anne Gelbard Source: News Corp Australia

Scene ... two of the gunmen who opened fire at French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Pi

Scene … two of the gunmen who opened fire at French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Picture: Live Leak Source Source: News Corp Australia

Armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher, two gunmen, claiming to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, stormed the satirical paper’s office about 11.30am on Wednesday (9:30pm AEDT Wednesday) shouting “we have avenged the Prophet” and “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) as they fired.

MORE: The victims of Charlie Hebdo terror attack

MORE: Newspaper gunmen ‘on the loose’

MORE: What to know about Charlie Hebdo

The gunmen headed to the second floor editorial department where staff were holding their daily meeting and asked people who they were before shooting.

Terrified staff scattered, with some seeking refuge on the roof as the attack went on for five to 10 minutes before the gunmen managed to escape.

After being called out by name and executed in front of colleagues, ten staff members were gunned down and a police officer was also shot dead before the offenders fled in a getaway car where a third man was waiting.

Driving to Porte de Pantin in northeast Paris where they abandoned the first car and hijacked another, the three gunman emerged from their getaway vehicle to casually injure and execute a French policeman.

WARNING: Graphic content – Moments before Paris gunmen shoot victim

WARNING: Graphic content - Moments before Paris gunmen shoot victim

The escape prompted a huge manhunt with 3000 police are scouring the city in search of the terrorists as French President Francois Hollande described the bloodbath as an “undoubtedly terrorist act.”

Police are now conducting France anti-terror raids in the north-eastern city of Reims as part of their search for the terrorists.

‘A REAL SLAUGHTER’: WITNESSES DESCRIBE ATTACK

Rocco Contento, spokesman for the Unite police union, said the attackers exchanged gunfire with

“They opened fire on everyone, it was butchery, a real slaughter,” Mr Conteno has told the daily Libération.

“Some of the people there took refuge up on the roof. The attackers then emerged, and there was a shootout with police.”

Mr Contento added that the Charlie Hebdo offices had increased its security in recent weeks following renewed threats against the paper.

The contentious newspaper has drawn repeated threats for its controversial caricatures and was firebombed in 2011 in response to a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

In videos posted from scenes of the attack, the gunmen can be heard yelling “Allahu Akbar” as gunshots fire.

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO

Witness Corinne Rey told L’Humanite she was forced to let the attackers into the building, and they claimed to be from al-Qaeda.

“I had gone to pick up my daughter from daycare. Arriving at the door of the newspaper building, two hooded and armed men brutally threatened us,” she said.

“They wanted to enter, go up. I typed the code. They shot Wolinski, Cabu … it lasted five minutes … I had taken refuge under a desk … They spoke French perfectly … claiming to be al-Qaeda.”

MANHUNT: Newspaper gunmen ‘on the loose’

CHARM: ‘I’d rather die standing than live on my knees’

Australian journalist Amanda Morrow, who lives near the Charlie Hebdo offices, told News Corp Australia that even two hours after the attack, emergency vehicles were still streaming to the site.

Ms Morrow, who has worked for Radio France International for six years and, incidentally, is due to give birth today, said she was not surprised by the attack.

“If you live anywhere near Charlie Hebdo, which has continually printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, you know that it is always going to be a target,” she said. “Paris is no stranger to these sorts of attacks, there has been a lot of animosity between Jews and Muslims.”

French soldiers patrol the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the capital was placed under the high

French soldiers patrol the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the capital was placed under the highest alert status. Picture: Joel Saget Source: AFP

Investigation ... French police and forensic experts examine the car used by armed gunmen

Investigation … French police and forensic experts examine the car used by armed gunmen who stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: AFP/Getty Images Source: AFP

A police car riddled with bullets during the attack.

Damage … a police car riddled with bullets. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Massive manhunt

The gunmen’s escape prompted a massive manhunt with about 3000 police officers scouring the streets of Paris for hours following the attack.

Police are forensically examining the abandoned black Citroen getaway car, which was found in the nearby 19th district in north-eastern Paris.

Liberation is reporting three suspects aged 18, 32, and 34, two of them believed to be brothers, have been arrested.

According to MetroNews, police have identified the men as Said and Cherif K, brothers born in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, and Hamyd M, the 18-year-old, whose nationality is not yet known.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (centre) arrives at the offices of the French satirica

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (centre) arrives at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

A police officer stands next to the bicycle of a police officer who was hit by a car near

A police officer stands next to the bicycle of a police officer who was hit by a car near the shell of a bullet (bottom R) not far from the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Philippe Dupeyrat Source: AFP

People hug each other outside Charlie Hebdo's office. Picture: Remy de la Mauviniere

People hug each other outside Charlie Hebdo’s office. Picture: Remy de la Mauviniere Source: AP

French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon reacts outside of the headquarters of Charlie H

French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon reacts outside of the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Kenzo Tribouillard Source: AFP

A woman cries outside the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Kenzo Tribouillard

A woman cries outside the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Picture: Kenzo Tribouillard Source: AFP

Victims

Two police officers and 10 newspaper staff are among at least 12 killed in the attack.

Police said 11 are injured, four critically.

French media have named five of the victims: controversial cartoonist and editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as “Charb”; cartoonists Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski and Bernard ‘Tignous’ Verlhac; and economist and writer Bernard Maris.

Victims ... Charlie Hebdo staff killed in the attack include (clockwise from top left) ca

Victims … Charlie Hebdo staff killed in the attack include (clockwise from top left) cartoonist Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, cartoonist Tignous, Georges Wolinski and publisher Charb. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Charbonnier, 47, faced constant threats over the controversial publication, and once famously said: “I’d prefer to die standing than live on my knees.”

He appeared in a 2013 Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam article published by Inspire, the terrorist propaganda magazine published by al-Qaeda.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Biard, was in London at the time of the attack.

“I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war,” he told France Inter.

It has been reported the gunmen asked for the cartoonists by name before killing them.

Thousands of tributes to the cartoonists have appeared online with the hashtag Je Suis Charlie, which means “I am Charlie.”

Killled ... writer Bernard Maris was murdered in the attack. Picture: AFP

Killed … writer Bernard Maris was murdered in the attack. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Staff ... members of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo pictured in 2006, inclu

Staff … members of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo pictured in 2006, including cartoonists Cabu (L), Charb (2nd L), Tignous (4th L) and Honore (5th L) posing in front of the then headquarters of the weekly in Paris. Picture: Joel Saget Source: AFP, a 42-year-old Muslim man has been named as one of the officers killed.

Graphic video shows the officer being killed point-blank on the sidewalk by the terrorists after begging for his life.

What is Charlie Hebdo?

The satirical newspaper gained notoriety in February 2006 when it reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, causing fury across the Muslim world.

Its offices were firebombed in November 2011 when it published a cartoon of Mohammed and under the title Charia Hebdo. No one was injured in that attack.

Previous attack ... this picture shows the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie H

Previous attack … this picture shows the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo when it was firebombed in 2011. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the weekly continued to publish controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet. In September 2012 Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Mohammed as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film, titled Innocence of Muslims, which was made in the United States and insulted the prophet.

French schools, consulates and cultural centres in 20 Muslim countries were briefly closed along with embassies for fear of retaliatory attacks at the time.

Before his death in Wednesday’s shooting, editor Stephane Charbonnier received death threats and lived under police protection.

Charlie Hebdo’s front page on the day of the shooting

The French newspaper has long been the subject of threats and attacks in its 50-year history, particularly for poking fun at the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

The cover of Wednesday’s paper — the day of the shooting — featured a caricature of Michel Houellebecq, a novelist whose sixth novel, Submission, predicts a future France run by Muslims, in which women no longer wear Western clothes and polygamy is accepted.

On the cover, Mr Houellebecq is depicted as a wizard and smoking a cigarette, saying: “In 2022, I will do Ramadan.”

The last tweet on Charlie Hebdo’s Twitter profile page @Charlie_Hebdo_, sent about an hour before the shootings, included a satirical cartoon of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In it he wishes everyone “good health”.

It has not been confirmed if Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover image or tweet were the cause of the shooting.

Paris raises terror alert

French President Francois Hollande has condemned the attack as an “undoubtedly terrorist act.”

Paris has raised its terror alert level to the highest setting following the attack, with Mr Hollande calling an emergency cabinet meeting.

“France is today in shock, in front of a terrorist attack. This newspaper was threatened several rimes in the past and we need to show we are a united country,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande (C) arrives at the headquarters of the French satirica

French President Francois Hollande (C) arrives at the headquarters of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

“We have to be firm, and we have to be stand strong with the international community in the coming days and weeks. We are at a very difficult moment following several terrorist attacks. “We are threatened because we are a country of freedom. We will punish the attackers. We will look for the people responsible.”

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said prosecutors have been asked to take all precautions to protect publications, cultural institutions and public places.

He said that all measures were being taken “to neutralise these three criminals who have committed this barbaric act.”

Thousands rally in Paris for victims

Thousands of people joined rallies in Paris and other French cities on Wednesday evening to pay tribute to the victims of the massacre.

At least 10,000 people gathered in the eastern city of Lyon and another 5000 in Paris not far from the site of the attack that killed 12 people, according to police.

Crowds chanted “liberate d’expression” and held up pens, as a black armband was placed on Lady Liberty at Place de la Republique.

Peaceful rally ... thousands gather in front of the prefecture in Lille, northern France.

Peaceful rally … thousands gather in front of the prefecture in Lille, northern France. Picture: AFP/ Denis Charlet Source: AFP

People holds placards reading ‘I am Charlie’ in a gathering in Toulouse. Picture: AFP/Eri

People holds placards reading ‘I am Charlie’ in a gathering in Toulouse. Picture: AFP/Eric Cabanis Source: AFP

A woman demonstrates in Toulouse for press freedom. Picture: AFP/Eric Cabanis

A woman demonstrates in Toulouse for press freedom. Picture: AFP/Eric Cabanis Source: AFP

Liberty ... a black armband was placed on Lady Liberty at Place de la Republique as demon

Liberty … a black armband was placed on Lady Liberty at Place de la Republique as demonstrators for peace wave the French flag. Picture: AFP/Dominique Faget Source: AFP

World leaders respond

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott condemned Thursday the “barbaric act” in Paris

“Australia stands with the people and the government of France at this difficult time,” Abbott said in a statement.

“The thoughts of all Australians are with the families of those who have lost their lives in this barbaric act. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free society,”

World leaders have condemned Wednesday’s shooting, calling it an attack on press freedom and barbaric.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the murders were “sickening”.

“We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the killings were a “barbaric attack on freedom of speech”.

“My thoughts are with the victims, their families and their colleagues,” he said.

The White House said it condemns the Paris attack in “strongest possible terms.”

“Everybody here at the White House are with the families of those who were killed or injured in this attack,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, speaking on MSNBC.

“Senior officials at the White House have been in close touch with their counterparts in France this morning.”

He said the US was willing to help the French with an investigation.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said the shooting was “also an attack on press and free speech”, while Russian president Vladimir Putin said he “resolutely condemns terrorism.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi condemned the deadly attack highlighted the need to close ranks against militants.

“This terrorist attack (is) condemned by Iraq, which has suffered greatly at the hands of terrorist groups,” Abadi said in a statement. “This confirms that terrorism threatens all the countries of the world, and not Iraq alone.”

Queen Elizabeth also sent a message to Mr Hollande.

“Prince Philip and I send our sincere condolences to the families of those who have been killed and to those who have been injured in the attack in Paris this morning,” she said. “We send our thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected.”

Pope Francis strongly condemned the “horrible attack” against a French satirical weekly Wednesday that left 12 people dead, his spokesman said.

“The Holy Father expresses the strongest condemnation for the horrible attack that plunged the city of Paris into mourning,” Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said the attack was a “direct assault on democracy, media and freedom of expression.”

Obama Comments on Paris Attack
Story by

Network Writers and wires

News Corp Australia

Northern Territory to launch online public sex offender register-Please follow suit


Bruce and Denise Morcombe

Photo: Bruce and Denise Morcombe attended the announcement of the NT’s public sex offender register. (ABC News: Ruby Jones)

Convicted sex offenders in the Northern Territory will soon have their name, image, physical description and whereabouts posted on a government website.

Legislation announced today has been named Daniel’s Law after Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe, who was murdered in 2003 by a convicted sex offender on parole.

Although details have not been finalised, it was believed all of the information published about a sex offender would be publicly accessible.

The NT Criminal Lawyers Association slammed the idea, saying naming and shaming made it harder for offenders to rehabilitate without making anyone safer.

NT Attorney-General John Elferink said it would be the first website of its kind in Australia and it was expected to be launched next year.

Western Australia has an online sex register but access has several tiers of restrictions.

It is not yet clear how approximate the location information for the NT register will be. Mr Elferink said the website would include the “regional whereabouts”.

We truly hope that the introduction of Daniel’s Law will prevent another family going through the pain and grief we experienced following Daniel’s death.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe

“We’ll list them by geographical region reasonably close to where [people] live. It is not a system of exact addresses,” he said.

“They will be able to see who the sexual predators are in the community. They’ll be able to recognise the sexual predators and protect their children.

“We believe that the public’s right to know takes precedence over the privacy concerns for serious sex offenders.

“The initiative will allow individuals and families to familiarise themselves with important details and be more vigilant about named serious sex offenders living in and around the area.”

Daniel’s Law modelled on Megan’s Law in US

The NT chose to pursue its own legislation after a proposed national sex offenders register was knocked back at the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, according to Mr Elferink.

“From our perspective if it’s not done at a Commonwealth level then we’re going to do it in the NT and proudly so,” he said.

“Does a government make this information available or not? The answer from the NT is ‘yes, yes we do’.

“There is no guarantee a website would have protected Daniel. We know we should pull out all stops as a society and as a community to create for parents an environment to protect their children.”

He said the NT system would be modelled on Megan’s Law in the United States – the informal name for sex offender registration and community notification laws, which have been passed at US federal and state levels.

However, unlike Megan’s Law, Daniel’s Law will not list offenders’ exact address.

The Attorney-General said the Government had not yet decided on the definition of “serious sex offender”.

“We’ll create a definition which is appropriate and then have further flexible arrangements to make sure the right people are placed on our serious sex offenders website.”

He said parents were in a better position to protect their child when they were armed with detailed information.

“While the Northern Territory Police will continue to track and monitor around 200 sex offenders in the community, this tool is designed to deliver information to the community about the most serious offenders in an easy, user-friendly way,” he said.

‘You’d hate to be the last state to have a register’

Daniel’s parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe, who have been calling for the introduction of a national child sex offender register, said they hoped the NT register would spread across the country.

“Of course sometimes one can imagine the paedophiles and the predators on the NT sex offenders register may well not want to be in the NT any longer,” Mr Morcombe said.

“They may migrate to other states and territories.

“You’d hate to be the last state to have a sex offenders register up and running. You’re going to get truckloads of people you don’t want in your state.”

The couple, who were in Darwin for the announcement, said they commended the NT’s decision.

“The NT has taken a leadership step,” Mr Morcombe said. “They were the first to do so.

“This is for ordinary Australians. It is to get the good people at arms length from the predators.

“We want protection for our kids.

“Daniel’s Law we are confident will assist in the mission to make sure kids of Australia are safe.

“We think it is breathtakingly simple but at the end of the day will make a massive difference for children right around the country.

“I am sure the feedback from that will migrate to other states and they’ll say, ‘Why not us?'”

Daniel disappeared when he was 13 while waiting for a bus at Woombye on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in 2003.

His remains were found in bushland eight years later.

His convicted killer, Brett Peter Cowan, had a long history of sexually abusing children.

He had been arrested and sentenced in 1989 for two years in jail after molesting a boy in a public toilets.

Four years later, while living in a caravan park in Darwin, Cowan attacked a six-year-old boy. He later pleaded guilty to gross indecency, grievous bodily harm and deprivation of liberty.

He was sentenced to seven years’ jail and released on parole four years later.

‘Terrible idea will turn people into vigilantes’

Public online sex registers make it harder for offenders to rehabilitate, increase the chance they will re-offend, and do not make anyone safer, according to NT Criminal Lawyers Association president Russell Goldflam.

He said the NT Government’s proposal was “terrible”.

From our perspective if it’s not done at a Commonwealth level then we’re going to do it in the NT and proudly so. Does a government make this information available or not? The answer from the NT is ‘yes, yes we do’.

John Elferink, NT Attorney-General

“Laws like this have been tried in the US, mainly over the last couple of decades,” he said. “They don’t result in anyone being safer or the level of recidivism being decreased.

“There are some real costs. They are expensive to run but more importantly is they can get in the way of people being rehabilitated.

“This can result in people going underground instead of engaging with those who can assist them to stop reoffending

“In a place like the the NT we expect anyone who is going to be put on the register will leave the NT and go somewhere else. That doesn’t help anybody. It just makes it harder to keep track of them.”

He said the system would further stigmatise, prejudice and stereotype convicted sex offenders.

“A very significant range of laws operate to protect the community from people who may be at risk of reoffending,” he said. “There is already a register, already a provision for for identifying offenders, already laws to detain serious repeat sex offenders.

“Where these laws have been passed in the US – and they have in some places included exact places where people live – vigilantes have murdered people on the list or people they believe are on the list, even if they weren’t child sex offenders.

“The Attorney-General says this will make people be more vigilant.

“Our concern is this will make more people into vigilantes.”

Abdul Numan Haider shot dead by anti-terrorist officers


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No wonder the authorities are asking for calm after the shooting death of a Abdul Numan Haider. I must say that it may make any other young impressionable people being drawn into the filth that is called ISIS and their so-called goals to THINK AGAIN.

Police have every right to defend themselves and ask questions later. Think about what would have happened if this bloke walking into a doctors, or school, or office? It is NOT ON

Officials name Abdul Numan Haider as man shot dead by anti-terrorist officers

Wed 24 Sep 2014, 2:17p

Senior law enforcement officials have named the 18-year-old man who was shot dead after stabbing two officers from the Joint Counter Terrorism team outside a Melbourne police station last night.

Abdul Numan Haider was the “person of interest” who was expected to attend an interview at the Endeavour Hills Police Station when the incident occurred, senior law enforcement sources confirmed.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said Haider, who was under investigation and had his passport cancelled, was allegedly seen last week with an Islamic State flag.

“There’s certainly information that he was present at the shopping centre in the last week or so with the flag that appeared to be an ISIS flag,” Chief Commissioner Lay said.

“It’s not an offence but clearly it drew our attention to this person and we had a conversation with this person.”

Haider, whose family are from Afghanistan, had also been associated with the radical Islamic group called Al-Furqan.

It is understood he had recently moved away from the group.

Based in Springvale, in Melbourne’s south-east, associates of Al-Furqan were the targets of terrorism raids by Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police in 2012.

Chief Commissioner Lay said Haider attacked a police officer who tried to shake his hand outside the station, and then stabbed another officer, about 7:40pm (AEST) on Tuesday.

“When our police members have approached this young man, one’s extended his hand to shake his hand and the response has been he’s been stabbed in the arm,” he said.

“The attacker’s then turned on the second police member and stabbed him three or four times in the body and in the head.

“The first wounded member has then shot and killed the young man.”

One of the injured officers is from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the other is a Victoria Police member, they were both rushed to hospital.

Chief Commissioner Lay said both police officers required surgery.

The ABC has been told that Haider had made threats against the Prime Minister, however AFP Acting Commissioner Andrew Colvin said no specific threats were made.

“This is early stages of an investigation … What I will say is and what I can be very confident on is there were no specific threats made,” he said.

Haider’s car is parked at a childcare centre next to the police station and the area is locked down.

Natalie Morales, who works at the childcare centre, said staff were unable to contact parents this morning to tell them the facility was closed, because the contact lists were in the building.

“That can happen anywhere around Australia, unfortunately it happened next door to the childcare I work at,” Ms Morales said.

“Even if it happened during the day, we have a pin code that only the staff and families know, so no-one can access the centre even if we had children in the centre.”

Abbott speaks to family of injured officers

Speaking in Hawaii while en route to a UN Security Council meeting in New York, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Melbourne incident was “nasty” and showed the threat from extremists was real.

“Obviously, this indicates that there are people in our community who are capable of very extreme acts,” he said.

“It also indicates that the police will be constantly vigilant to protect us against people who would do us harm.”

Mr Abbott said he had spoken to the wives of both police officers involved.

Chief Commissioner Lay said the stab wounds to the police officers were significant and required surgery, but that both officers were in a stable condition this morning.

“Our AFP colleague underwent surgery overnight for some significant injuries, he’s come through that surgery it appears pretty well, he’s in a serious but stable condition,” Chief Commissioner Lay said.

“Our Victorian Police member has had quite a significant stab wound to his arm, I understand he’ll undergo surgery today to repair some ligament and nerve damage.

“So the physical injuries will heal quick enough and obviously we need to think about the psychological stuff and give these people as much support as we possibly can.”

Victorian Premier urges community to unite

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said it was important that the incident did not divide the community.

“Let me make it very, very clear, one of the greatest strengths, one of the greatest assets we have here in Victoria is our harmonious, diverse, multi cultural, multi-faith community,” Dr Napthine said.

“We need to preserve and protect that. We need to enhance and build on that.

“We shouldn’t let a single incident divide that. We need to show each other respect, be tolerant and remain united.”

He said authorities were working together to ensure the safety of the community.

“It is imperative that we do all that we can to reassure all members of the Victorian community that everything is being done to protect our safety and making sure that our community continues to work together as a whole Victorian community,” Dr Napthine said.

Islamic leaders criticise police investigation

Leaders of Melbourne’s Islamic community have criticised police over their investigation into the fatal shooting.

Gaith Krayem from the Islamic Council of Victoria said police were quick to jump to conclusions.

“I was disappointed with the immediate press conference police held last night. It was held three hours after the event, and they drew conclusions immediately,” Mr Krayem said.

“There needs to be a proper process as there always should be when police are involved in a fatality.”

What we do know is that there’s an 18-year-old young man who is dead this morning, there are two police officers in hospital, there is a family who is grieving.

Gaith Krayem

Mr Krayen said the public needed to reserve their judgement until a full and objective investigation has taken place.

“Immediately, individuals such as this unfortunately are given these labels of a radical, or a terrorist, or an extremist,” he said.

“Unfortunately, because of the environment we’re in, as soon as you label somebody like that, people don’t want to then question what occurred.

“We don’t know really what happened when this young man arrived at the police station.

“What we do know is that there’s an 18-year-old young man who is dead this morning, there are two police officers in hospital, there is a family who is grieving.”

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