World

Paris authorities still unclear over mastermind

Paris,November 19: The French Interior Ministry and Paris prosecutor's office say it remains unclear whether the suspected mastermind of last week's Paris attacks has been killed or is still at large.

Officials in each agency said today that authorities are working on determining whether 27-year-old Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud was among those killed in a chaotic and bloody raid on an apartment in a Paris suburb yesterday. The officials were not authorized to be publicly named speaking about an ongoing investigation.

Police launched the operation after receiving information from tapped phone calls, surveillance and tipoffs suggesting that Abaaoud was holed up there.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said the identities of the dead are still being investigated, but that neither Abaaoud nor another fugitive, Salah Abdeslam, is in custody.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls is warning that the associates of extremists who targeted France last week could use chemical and biological weapons, as he urged Parliament to extend a state of emergency.

Valls presented a bill extending the state of emergency declared after Friday's attacks for another three months to the lower house of Parliament on Thursday. It goes to the upper house tomorrow.

Valls said "terrorism hit France, not because of what it is doing in Iraq and Syria but for what it is." He added, "we know that there could also be a risk of chemical or biological weapons.

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