By Tom Wyke for MailOnline and Simon Tomlinson Published: 16:22 EST, 15 November 2015 | Updated: 12:00 EST, 16 November 2015
URL of the original posting site: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3319696/French-fighter-jets-carry-massive-airstrike-operation-ISIS-stronghold-city-Raqqa-Syria.html?printingPage=true
- French jets dropped 20 bombs on ISIS stronghold, destroying command centre, training camp and munitions dump
- Bombardment come two days after French President Francois Hollande vowed to strike ISIS in Syria ‘without mercy’
- Police launched 150 raids across France, arresting scores of suspects and seizing rocket launcher among weapons
- Huge manhunt is also underway for accomplices of the Islamist cell which massacred 129 people in Paris on Friday
- Police face serious questions after arresting one of the masterminds and then letting him go hours after the attacks
- One of the Bataclan bombers has now been identified as Frenchman Samy Aminour, 28, after raids in Paris suburbs
- He was known to anti-terrorism police in 2012 when prosecuted for trying to flee France to join Al Qaeda in Yemen
- French Prime Minister has warned that new terror attacks are being planned in France and other European countries
- See full news coverage of France’s bombing raids in Syria at www.dailymail.co.uk/syria
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French jets have launched a series of ‘massive’ air strikes on ISIS in Syria as the country started its ‘pitiless’ retribution for the terror attacks on Paris.
The blitz was conducted by ten fighter planes which dropped 20 bombs on the terror group’s capital of Raqqa, destroying a key command centre, training camp and munitions dump, throwing the city into panic.
The bombardment came just two days after President Francois Hollande said the co-ordinated attacks in Paris that killed up to 129 people was an ‘act of war’ and vowed to strike ISIS in Syria ‘without mercy’.
In France, police carried out around 150 co-ordinated anti-terrorism raids across the country this morning, arresting dozens of suspects and seizing a cache of weapons including a rocket launcher.
A huge manhunt is also underway for accomplices of the Islamist cell including one of the bomb plotters who is still on the run today after police let him go in a string of incredible security blunders before and after the atrocity on Friday night.
A French official has also identified the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks as Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, meanwhile, has warned that authorities believe new terror attacks are being planned in France and in other European countries following the carnage.
French fighter jets launch a wave of ‘massive’ air strikes on ISIS in Syria as the country started its ‘pitiless’ retribution for the Paris attacks
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has also called for the dissolution of mosques ‘where hatred is preached’ in comments made on French television.
The air strikes in Syria, carried out in co-ordination with U.S. forces, struck a command centre, recruitment centre for jihadists, a munitions depot and a training camp for fighters, it said.
Activists inside Syria have suggested that no civilian casualties have been sustained in the Raqqa bombings.
Water supplies and electricity have reportedly been cut as a result of the air strikes, with activists claiming there has been ‘panic’ inside the city.
‘The raid… including 10 fighter jets, was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Twenty bombs were dropped,’ the French Defence ministry statement said last night.
Meanwhile, heavily armed tactical units launched more than 150 pre-dawn raids at addresses in Toulouse, Lyon, Grenoble, Calais and two suburbs of Paris.
French media reports a rocket launcher, flack jackets, several pistols and a Kalashnikov assault rifle were among the cache of weapons seized in Lyon overnight, with five people arrested.
They were among dozens of arrests in areas linked with radical Islamists who may have helped seven suicide bombers carry out the carnage.
French security sources said a fourth terrorist had now been identified as Frenchman Samy Aminour, 28, after raids on addresses in the Parisian suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis and Bobigny linked to his family overnight.
Aminour, thought to be one of four jihadis who massacred 89 fans at the Bataclan rock gig, is said to have been known to French anti-terror police since 2012 when he was prosecuted for trying to flee France for Yemen.
This morning, Mr Valls said that new terror attacks are being planned in France and in other European countries.
‘We know that operations were being prepared and are still being prepared, not only against France but other European countries too,’ he said.
France would be living with the threat of terror attacks ‘for a long time’, he said.
Valls said he was struck by the fact that young people had been targeted in Friday’s attacks on a concert hall, bars and restaurants and outside the Stade de France stadium.
France and other countries in Europe today observed a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the worst-ever terror attacks on French soil.
In Paris, President Francois Hollande and his cabinet, all dressed in black, bowed their heads at the Sorbonne University, surrounded by scores of students.
And at Place de la Republique near the site of many of Friday’s attacks, hundreds more stood still to remember the 129 people who were killed in the bloodbath.
Large crowds also gathered in silence by the Bataclan music venue where 89 people were died, and outside a nearby bar and restaurant where 15 people were murdered.
Mr Valls comments came as serious questions were being asked of France’s security operation after it emerged one of the fugitives wanted over the Paris bloodbath was arrested then released by police hours after the attacks.
Frenchman Salah Abdeslam, 26, from a suburb of Brussels known as the ‘jihadi’ capital of Europe, is now the subject of a vast international manhunt – after being questioned and let go by officers guarding the Belgian border.
One of his brothers, Ibrahim Abdeslam, 31, was one of seven terrorists who died on Friday night after he blew himself up in a solo attack outside cafe Comptoir Voltaire. He had rented a black Seat found yesterday in Paris packed with AK-47s and ammunition.
The third sibling, Mohammed Abdeslam, was in custody in Belgium last night after being arrested in a Brussels, where the ISIS terror cell may have met before the raid to gather automatic weapons and suicide vests.
French police broadcast the name and image of Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old born in Brussels, across Europe, warning that he is very dangerous.
‘Do not intervene yourself,’ his arrest warrant says.
He is believed to have played a key role in planning the operations.
Four French officials acknowledged that police had Abdeslam in their grasp, when they stopped a car carrying him and two other men near the Belgian border early today.
By then, hours had passed since authorities identified Abdeslam as the renter of a Volkswagen Polo that carried hostage takers to the Paris theatre where so many were killed.
Three French police officials and a top French security official confirmed that officers let Abdeslam go after checking his ID.
They spoke on condition of anonymity, lacking authorisation to publicly disclose such details.
It is now known that three of the suicide bombers were French nationals, two of whom lived in the Belgian capital Brussels.
In a further sign of the growing Belgian connection, investigators said two cars used in the violence were hired there.
One was found near the Bataclan venue, and the other in the suburb of Montreuil east of Paris, with a number of AK47 rifles inside.
Witnesses said the second car, a black Seat, was used by the gunmen who shot dozens of people in bars and restaurants in the hip Canal St Martin area of Paris.
The first attacker to be named by investigators was Omar Ismail Mostefai, a 29-year-old French citizen, who was identified by a severed finger found among the carnage at the Bataclan.
Meanwhile, the discovery of a Syrian passport near the body of one suicide attacker has raised fears that some of the assailants might have entered Europe as part of the huge influx of people fleeing Syria’s civil war.
Greek and Serbian authorities have confirmed the passport was issued to a man who registered as a refugee in October on the island of Leros and applied for asylum in Serbia a few days later.
Clues about the extent of the terror plot have emerged from Baghdad, where senior Iraqi officials told the the AP news agency that France and other countries had been warned on Thursday of an imminent attack.
An Iraqi intelligence dispatch warned that Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had ordered his followers to immediately launch gun and bomb attacks and take hostages inside the countries of the coalition fighting them in Iraq and Syria.
The Iraqi dispatch, which was obtained by the AP, provided no details on when or where the attack would take place, and a senior French security official told the AP that French intelligence gets these kinds of warnings ‘all the time’ and ‘every day.’
However, Iraqi intelligence officials told the AP that they also warned France about specific details: Among them, that the attackers were trained for this operation and sent back to France from Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de-facto capital.
The officials also said that a sleeper cell in France then met with the attackers after their training and helped them to execute the plan. There were 24 people involved in the operation, they said: 19 attackers and five others in charge of logistics and planning.
Last night French intelligence officials were quizzing a man suspected of being a quartermaster to the Paris murder gang.
The suspect – identified only as ‘Vlatko V’, 51 – had driven 750 miles from Montenegro through Croatia, Slovenia and Austria, before he was stopped on an autobahn in Bavaria last Thursday.
Officers discovered eight loaded AK-47 assault rifles in secret compartments of his Volkswagen Golf. Three handguns, two hand grenades, fuses, detonators and almost half a pound of TNT completed the mini arsenal. Also found in the vehicle were several Parisian telephone numbers and other addresses.
The man, who is Muslim according to unconfirmed reports, has no apparent previous criminal record or specific links to radical Islamists.
Suspects: Belgian Bilal Hadfi, 20, (pictured) who had spent time fighting with ISIS in Syria before returning to Europe and detonating his suicide vest at the Stade de France and French bomber Omar Mostefai, right, killed himself after he attacked the Bataclan concert Hall
PARIS MASSACRE: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT THE DEADLIEST TERROR ATTACK TO HIT EUROPE IN A DECADE
At least 129 people are dead, and another 352 injured, after three teams of jihadis struck the Stade de France football stadium, a string of bars and cafes, and then finally the Bataclan concert hall.
FIRST TWO ATTACKS: STADE DE FRANCE
- The attacks began at 9.20pm at the Stade de France where the French football team was hosting Germany in an international friendly.
- The game was being watched by 80,000 spectators, among them was President Francois Hollande who had to be evacuated from the stadium.
- Ahmed Almohammad, 25, from Syria approached the stadium with a match ticket. He was turned away from Gate D after being frisked by a security guard.
- He backed away from the gate and detonated his vest, killing one other person. A passport was found near his body.
- A second suicide bomber, Bilal Hadfi, 20, blew himself up near Gate H at 9.30pm. No one else was reported killed. Hadfi is said to have fought with ISIS in Syria.
THIRD ATTACK: LE PETIT CAMBODGE AND LE CARILLON BAR
- At 9.25pm a separate team of gunmen arrived in a Black Seat and attacked diners at popular Cambodian restaurant Le Petit Cambodge and Le Carillon bar in the trendy Canal Saint-Martin area of eastern Paris, killing 15. The gunmen were using Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles.
FOURTH ATTACK: LA CASA NOSTRA PIZZERIA AND LA BELLE EQUIPE BAR
- The same unit then drove about 500 yards to La Casa Nostra pizzeria and opened fire on diners on the terrace of the restaurant, killing at least five people.
- From there, the militants drove around a mile south-east – apparently past the area of the Bataclan concert venue – to launch another attack, this time on La Belle Equipe bar in Rue de Charonne. At least 19 people died after the terrace was sprayed with bullets at 9.36pm The attackers then drove off.
FIFTH ATTACK: CAFÉ ‘COMPTOIR VOLTAIRE’
- At 9.40pm, Ibrahim Abdeslam, 31, set off a suicide vest inside cafe ‘Comptoir Voltaire’ on the Boulevard Voltaire and close to the Bataclan theatre. He hired a black Seat car used in the attack, which was found later abandoned with three assault rifles, along with five full magazines. The killers had emptied 11 magazines, firing an estimated 330 rounds.
SIXTH ATTACK: BATACLAN MUSIC HALL
- At 9.40pm, the third group (believed to be three men and a woman) armed with AK-47s stormed the Bataclan music hall and began shooting members of the crowd. Survivors claim three blew themselves up and a fourth person was shot dead by police before they could detonate their bomb.
SEVENTH ATTACK: NEAR STADE DE FRANCE
- At around 10.15pm a third blast took place near the Stade de France, this time by a McDonald’s restaurant on the fringes of the stadium. The boom caused terror among spectators who had already been attempting to flee the stadium following the first two explosions. The attacker who detonated his suicide vest was identified as a 20-year-old French man living in Belgium.
- On Saturday morning, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks across Paris, saying ‘eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles’ conducted a ‘blessed attack on… Crusader France’.
- On Saturday morning, the world’s most wanted man, Salah Abdeslam is stopped by French police along with two other men as he approached the Belgian border. He is released after he shows his ID and returns to the Jihadi hotspot of Molenbeek in Brussels where he vanishes.
- Belgian police launch several anti-terror raids after Abdeslam was identified as having rented a VW Polo used by the Bataclan killers which was found abandoned nearby.
- One of the Stade de France suspects was found carrying a Syrian passport under the name Ahmed Almohammad who travelled to France as a migrant through Greece on October 3. Ferry tickets reveal he travelled with another man named as Mohammed Almuhamed.
- However, the French minister of justice Christiane Taubira said on Sunday that the passport under the name Ahmed Almohammad was a fake.
- Omar Ismaël Mostefai, 29, from Courcouronnes, Paris was also named as a Bataclan suicide bomber. The petty criminal and father-of-one was known to police as a radical and had travelled to Algeria and Syria. He was identified by the fingerprint on a severed digit found after he detonated his suicide belt.
- Mostefai is believed to have been radicalised by a Belgian hate preacher of Moroccan descent claimed to have regularly preached at his mosque in South West France. His father, a brother and other family members have been held and are being questioned.
- The black Seat Leon used by the terrorists who murdered diners outside the Casa Nostra pizza restaurant and the La Belle Équipe cafe was found abandoned 20 minutes away in Montreuil with three AK-47s and 16 magazines – 11 of them empty.
- Seven people were detained in Belgium linked to the atrocities. Five are from the Molenbeek area of Brussels known as a ‘den of terrorists’.
- Iraqi spies warned the West of an ISIS suicide bomber threat the day before the Paris atrocities, it was revealed on Sunday, as more details of major intelligence failures began to emerge. The US-led coalition in Syria was apparently told by Iraqi security sources that 24 extremists were involved in the terror operation planned in the ISIS capital Raqqa and it would involve 19 attackers including five others including bombmakers and planners. No detail was given of when or where an attack might take place.
- It has also emerged that Turkey’s authorities foiled a plot to stage a ‘Jihadi John revenge attack’ in Istanbul – involving a high-profile British jihadist – on the same day as the deadly massacre in Paris.
- From as far back as August, France’s authorities possessed information that militants were said to be planning attacks on French concert halls after a tip-off was received from a 30-year-old man who was detained on his way back from Syria.
- On Sunday night there were 42 people still said to be in intensive care in hospital following Friday’s terrorist attacks.
- French and Belgian police are still hunting for three gunmen on the run, including Abdeslam, and an ISIS bombmaker likely to have made the suicide vests.
- An international arrest warrant has been issued for Abdeslam, 26, who is accused of renting a Volkswagen Polo used by the suicide bombers.
- It emerged on Sunday night that police found Abdeslam near the Belgian border early Saturday but let him go after he showed them his ID card. Officers pulled over the car being driven by Abdelslam on Saturday morning on the A2 motorway between Paris and Brussels. Two other men were also in the car.
- At the time, officers in Paris knew that Abdeslam had rented the car used by the killers which had been abandoned near the theatre but the information had not been transmitted to those responsible for conducting the border checks.
- On Sunday evening the French defence ministry announced that the country’s warplanes had bombed Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria’s Raqa, destroying a command post and a training camp, the defence ministry said. Ten fighter jets were involved, dropping 20 bombs.
- French and Belgian police have conducted more than 150 anti-terror raids, including a botched attempt to capture Abdelsam, who is still on the run.
But police believe he is linked to organised crime groups in Montenegro that may have agreed to supply weaponry to jihadi groups.
A German intelligence source said police officers blundered by not reporting the seizure to anti-terror specialists in Berlin, who may have alerted France.
It also emerged that French security police arrested a man in August on suspicion of plotting a terror attack on a concert venue.
The man was held just two months after he returned from a six-day trip to Raqqa, Syria.
According to reports, the suspect confessed that he was ordered by an ISIS leader to return to Europe or France to carry out an atrocity and suggested a busy concert hall as an ideal target.
The apparent intelligence failures come amid an ongoing inquiry into the fatal errors by the security services in the lead up to the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris in January.
President Obama’s opening remarks at the Paris climate agreement were effectively an apology for industrial progress. At the kickoff of the talks, Obama remarked, “I’ve come here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem; we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.”
Obama should not be apologizing for the economic growth that dramatically improved Americans’ and much of the world’s quality of life. Instead, the president should apologize for pushing costly and ineffective climate policies that will make us worse off and trap the world’s poorest citizens in poverty.
The Cost of Climate Policies
The real problem facing American households and businesses is the Obama administration’s climate policies. The administration has finalized a slew of regulations to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Through a set of regulations known as the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency has required states to meet carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals for existing power plants.
At the same time, the EPA finalized a regulation capping emissions of carbon dioxide from new power plants so low as to effectively prevent any coal power plant from running without carbon capture and sequestration technology (which has yet to be proven feasible). The federal government also implemented climate regulations on vehicles, light and heavy-duty trucks, and fracking.
Heritage analysts modeled the cumulative costs of the Obama administration’s climate agenda by modeling the economic costs of a carbon tax. Taxing carbon dioxide energy incentivizes businesses and consumers to change production processes, technologies, and behavior in a manner comparable to the administration’s regulatory scheme—though neither regulations nor a tax is good policy. By 2030, Heritage economists estimate the damage would be:
The trade-off that Americans receive for higher electricity rates, unemployment, and lower levels of prosperity is not an appealing one. Even though electricity generation accounts for the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, the estimated reduction is minuscule compared to global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, even if you do believe that the Earth is heading to catastrophic warming, the warming mitigated by the president’s plan would be barely measurable—unlike the economic consequences.
Is Climate Change a Problem?
This “problem” of climate change is hardly one at all. Natural variations have altered the climate much more than man has. Proponents of global action on climate change will argue that 97 percent of the climatologists agree on climate change. There is significant agreement among climatologists, even those labeled as skeptics, that the Earth has warmed moderately over the past 60 years and that some portion of that warming may be attributed to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. However, there is no consensus that temperatures are increasing at an accelerating rate.
In fact, the available climate data simply do not indicate that the Earth is heading toward catastrophic warming or more frequent and severe natural disasters. Quite the opposite. The earth has experienced a pause in warming since 1998, and data shows that the climate is less sensitive to increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions than the climate models predicted.
Dr. Roger Pielke, a professor at the University of Colorado’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, testified last year, saying:
In his remarks, Obama stressed that “[n]o nation—large or small, wealthy or poor—is immune.” Such a sentiment also holds true for climate policies. Policies that restrict the use of conventional fuels will make everyone poorer. And it’s the poorest who will suffer most.
Let’s place blame on the policies and regulations that obstruct citizens around the world from obtaining a better standard of living.