France carries out raids, names more potential attackers

A man is detained by a police officer after a raid in the Mirail district in Toulouse, southwestern France, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls says there have been 150 police raids overnight in the country. (AP Photo) FRANCE OUT

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French official has identified the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks as Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, inked to thwarted train and church attacks.

French police raided 168 locations across the country and detained nearly two dozen people as authorities released the names of two more potential suicide bombers involved in the Paris attacks— one born in Syria, the other a Frenchman wanted as part of a terrorism investigation. The raids came as the hunt continued for members of the sleeper cell that carried out last Friday’s gun and bomb attacks that killed 129 people and as France launched its heaviest airstrikes on the Islamic State group’s de-facto capital in Syria.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Monday “we are at war” against terrorism. French authorities say Sunday night’s airstrikes destroyed a jihadi training camp and a munitions dump in the city of Raqqa, where Iraqi intelligence officials say the attacks on Paris were planned.

Twelve aircraft including 10 fighter jets dropped a total of 20 bombs in the biggest air strikes since France extended its bombing campaign against the extremist group to Syria in September, a Defense Ministry statement said. The jets launched from sites in Jordan and the Persian Gulf, in coordination with U.S. forces.

PHOTOS: Paris terror attacks

THE LATEST:

  • French official identifies suspected mastermind of Paris attacks as Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, linked to thwarted train and church attacks.
  • French interior minister says police raided 168 locations last night across the country.
  • Prosecutors: 2 more Paris attackers identified, 1 from Syria, 1 facing French terror charges.
  • French defense official: ‘massive’ airstrikes destroy 2 jihadi sites in Raqqa, Syria.
  • French police have issued a wanted notice with a photo of a man suspected in the Paris attacks. The notice, released Sunday evening, is for Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old man born in Brussels.

PARIS (AP) – The latest on the deadly attacks in Paris. (All times local):

6:15 p.m.

One of the three brothers who have been linked to the Paris attacks has said upon his release from detention in Brussels that he and his family “are moved by what happened” in Paris and “could never have believed that one of our brothers was involved.”

After his weekend detention, Mohamed Abdeslam was released Monday and spoke to reporters about his brother Brahim who died during a suicide attack Friday and his other brother Salah who is a fugitive.

“We don’t know where he is at the moment,” he said of Salah. “We don’t know, because of the current tensions, if he will dare to turn himself in to the justice,” Mohamed told reporters.

He said that because of the events “my parents are in shock and don’t realize what happened.”

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6:05 p.m.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the 28-nation political and military alliance will work even more closely with other countries “to fight extremism and terrorism.”

Without announcing any new concrete actions, he said Monday that “we must stand vigilant, determined and united.”

Stoltenberg spoke during the annual conference of the European Defense Agency in Brussels. Earlier in the day, employees at NATO headquarters honored the victims of last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris with a minute’s silence.

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5:50 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande wants the constitution changed so that the government can revoke the citizenship of convicted terrorists born in France who have dual nationality.

Hollande said Monday in a rare joint session of parliament at the Palace of Versailles that “we must be able to revoke the French citizenship of a person convicted for threatening the nations’ interest or for terrorist acts.”

Under current French law, citizenship revocation can only be applied to people who have been naturalized, if they have dual nationality.

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5:35 p.m.

Norwegian police say they have postponed a decision to go unarmed following the Paris attacks and will carry guns until next month.

Kaare Songstad, director of safety and security at the National Police Directorate, said Monday that following the carnage in Paris, “the most important thing we can do is obtain the best possible overview of the situation internationally and nationally” by cooperating with all the various police departments.

Norwegian police, who have traditionally patrolled streets unarmed, had been carrying weapons for about a year as a temporary measure after the country’s security service raised the terror alert level. After the level was downgraded, police announced last week that there were no grounds to continue the temporary measure and would lay down their arms this week.

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5:20 p.m.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry says a second German citizen has been identified among those killed in Friday’s Paris attacks.

The statement Monday provided no further details on the man’s identity.

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5:05 p.m.

A video released by the Islamic State group shows fighters praising last week’s deadly attacks in Paris and urging Muslims to carry out similar acts.

A fighter who appears in the video released Monday, which was filmed in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk, calls on Muslims all over the world, especially in France, to “intensify their attacks against Crusaders.”

Another fighter says “we congratulate the oppressed Muslims worldwide for this sacred act that our brothers carried out against the enemies of religion.”

The unidentified fighters say members of the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State group “will not enjoy peace and security until Muslims live” safely.

IS claimed the attacks in Paris on Friday that killed 129 people.

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5 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande says the Paris attacks targeted “youth in all its diversity” and that the victims were of 19 different nationalities.

Speaking in a special joint session of parliament at the Palace of Versailles, Hollande said the attackers targeted “the France that likes life, culture, sports, parties.”

Islamic State militants killed 129 people in Friday’s attacks.

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4:50 p.m.

The English Football Association says there will more security checks, a greater presence of armed police and a slower entrance procedure for Tuesday’s soccer friendly match between England and France at London’s Wembley Stadium, which is being played four days after the Paris attacks.

“The match tomorrow is going to have massive global significance,” FA chief executive Martin Glenn said. “It’s the first big event to happen since the tragedy of last Friday … the eyes of the world will be on Wembley tomorrow, not just the eyes of the French and English people.”

Glenn said it was important for the French and English teams to play and show solidarity, “to demonstrate that terrorism won’t win.”

England captain Wayne Rooney said he and his teammates had no concerns about playing the game.

“I think the world of football has to stay strong together,” Rooney said. “I’m sure everyone will do that and try to deal with the situation to the best everyone knows how to do. I’m sure football will bring people together.”

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4:40 p.m.

France’s president says a bill to extend the country’s state of emergency for three months will be presented to parliament on Wednesday.

Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency following Friday night’s attacks across the capital and at the Stade de France. Parliament must approve extending it.

The state of emergency extends some police powers of search and arrest and limits public gatherings, among other changes.

___

4:35 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande says he will meet with U.S. and Russian leaders to discuss pooling their efforts to destroy the Islamic State group.

Hollande, speaking at a special joint meeting of the upper and lower houses of parliament in the Palace of Versailles, said he had requested meetings with Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.

Hollande said he wanted the talks “to unify our strength and achieve a result that has been too long in coming.” Hollande called for “a union of all who can fight this terrorist army in a single coalition.”

He didn’t specify if he’d meet Obama and Putin together or separately.

___

4:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama says that the U.S. had no intelligence information ahead of the Paris attacks that killed 129 people last week that would have given a clue that an attack was imminent.

Speaking at a news conference at the Group of 20 leading economies summit in Antalya, Turkey, Obama said that the U.S. is constantly sharing intelligence with European allies about the Islamic State group and other extremist threats, but had no useful information before the Paris attacks.

He said: “I am not aware of anything that was specific.”

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4:25 p.m.

In light of the Paris attacks, a key figure in Poland’s Roman Catholic Church has expressed concern about security at next summer’s meeting of youth with Pope Francis in Poland.

The archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, said Monday the church leaders are “worried because the events in Paris have shown that peace, security in Europe are threatened.”

More than 2 million young Catholics from around the world are expected to take part in World Youth Day with the pope in Krakow July 25-31.

Dziwisz said he hopes that Europe and the U.S. have “enough strength” to jointly ensure security to make “Europe and Poland feel safe, and to allow Youth Day” and the Euro 2016 soccer championship in France to be held in “safety and peace, which Europe deserves.”

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4:15 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande is addressing parliament about France’s response to the Paris attacks, in a rare speech to lawmakers gathered in the majestic congress room of the Palace of Versailles.

Hollande, in Monday’s speech, is especially expected to evoke France’s military operations in Syria and domestic security measures.

The last time a French president made a speech in front of both houses of Parliament in Versailles was in 2009, when Nicolas Sarkozy addressed the global financial crisis.

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4:05 p.m.

Suspended UEFA president Michel Platini has observed a minute of silence in honor of the victims of the Paris attacks in a ceremony at the headquarters of European soccer’s governing body.

Platini’s legal team has told The Associated Press that the Frenchman was so affected by the string of attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people that “it was impossible for him not to attend” the ceremony on Monday in Nyon, Switzerland.

Platini’s decision is a potential breach of the ban preventing him from entering UEFA’s headquarters.

Platini has been suspended from all soccer activities for 90 days over a 2011 payment from FIFA.

UEFA said earlier that all teams playing in European internationals this week will wear black armbands, with a minute of silence held before kickoff in honor of those killed in Paris.

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4 p.m.

The Eiffel Tower, which dimmed its lights in mourning following Friday’s attacks in Paris, will be relit in red, white and blue.

The 116-year-old international symbol of Paris will light up in the colors of the French flag at 1800 GMT (1 p.m. EST) Monday. Monuments around the world have done the same in recent days in a show of sympathy with Paris, including the Sydney Opera House, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue.

After the relighting, Paris’ motto “Fluctuat nec mergitur” or “Tossed but not sunk.” will be projected onto the 300-meter (986-foot) monument visible across the French capital.

The tower reopened to visitors Monday afternoon.

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3:50 p.m.

A Turkish security official says authorities have arrested more than half a dozen suspected Islamic State militants who had exchanged messages with the militants in Paris who conducted the deadly attacks across the city.

The official said that the militants were planning a similar attack in Istanbul.

The security official said Monday that the suspects included a man they believe is associated with Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the investigation.

— By Suzan Fraser

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3:40 p.m.

Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office says that five of the seven people who were detained over the weekend because of possible links to the Paris attacks have been released.

Two others have been changed with being part of a terror group and links to a terror attack, the office said in a statement.

The office also said that a major police operation in Molenbeek during much of Monday failed to yield any arrests related to the Paris attacks.

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3:15 p.m.

The director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency says the United States has not underestimated the threat posed by the Islamic State group.

John Brennan said Monday the success by the United States and its coalition countries in containing the group’s momentum inside Iraq and Syria is “why I think they are looking abroad” to make attacks.

Asked whether the U.S. had underestimated the threat, Brennan said, “I don’t think we are underestimating the capability of ISIL,” using an alternate name for the group.

He told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, that while it was “inevitable” that the Islamic State will try to carry out such attacks, “to me it is not inevitable that they are going to succeed.”

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2:50 p.m.

Czech authorities say they are planning to boost security in the capital on Tuesday, the anniversary of the 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says the presence of extra force in the streets of Prague is meant as precaution.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec says authorities have information some unspecified extremist group might misuse the national holiday but did not give any details.

Chovanec says: “We’re ready to show that police is ready to protect the citizens.”

Police also say in a statement they plan an increased presence also in other major cities across the country and that the decision is a reaction to the Paris attacks.

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2:40 p.m.

German authorities are investigating claims that an Algerian man warned fellow migrants last week of an imminent attack in Paris.

A spokesman for prosecutors in Arnsberg says the unidentified 39-year-old was detained at a refugee shelter in the western German town, after two Syrian men contacted police Saturday.

Werner Wolff confirmed Monday a report by public broadcaster WDR that the man had told the Syrians that Paris would be subjected to “fear and terror.”

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2:35 p.m.

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton says his department is operating as though attacks like those in Paris could happen in New York City.

Bratton said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that his force has beefed up security and staffing, including at the French consulate, France’s mission to the United Nations and Times Square.

Bratton says the Paris attackers’ use of suicide vests is of particular concern, and officers are trying to learn more about the capability and types of arms used in the vests. He says New York police team will go to Paris this week.

___

2:20 p.m.

A local official says the massive police operation in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek has ended and that no one was injured.

Mayor Francoise Schepmans said Monday that the operation ended after more than three hours. It was unclear whether there was a major arrest during the operation which centered on a suspect in the Paris attacks.

Two small explosions were heard and dozens of masked and heavily armed security officials had sealed off the area and neighbors were told to stay out of harm’s way.

Police arrested three suspects in the impoverished Brussels neighborhood on Saturday and continued house searches.

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2:05 p.m.

Activists say French airstrikes on the northern Syrian city of Raqqa did not kill civilians and only hit military targets in the Islamic State group’s de facto capital.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Monday the French targeted military facilities on the northern and southern edges of the city.

He says there are casualties among IS but did not provide numbers.

Sarmad al-Jilane, of the Raqqa-based collective called Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, said the city is tense, with few people venturing out even though markets are open.

France’s Defense Ministry said 12 aircraft dropped a total of 20 bombs Sunday night in the biggest air strikes since France extended its bombing campaign against the extremist group to Syria in September.

___

2 p.m.

The lawyer for Mohammad Abdeslam, one of the brothers of a dead suicide bomber in the Paris attacks, has been released after he had been detained over the weekend. Another brother, Salah Abdeslam, is the object of a massive manhunt.

Brahim Abdeslam died when he detonated his suicide vest on Friday.

Mohamed Abdeslam’s lawyer, Nathalie Gallant, told the RTL network that her client “hadn’t made the same life choices.”

___

1:45 p.m.

A French police union is calling for the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, which authorities consider a focal point for extremists and fighters, to come under EU security control, saying the government has ceded the area to the Islamic State group.

The neighborhood, which police raided Monday in a sweep for the fugitive Frenchman suspected in the Paris attacks, was home to the Belgian Islamic State jihadi believed to be behind the attacks and two other thwarted attempts.

The France Police union said Belgium’s national institutions failed and demanded “necessary measures to protect the Belgian and European populations from terrorism.” The EU has no provisions for the demand, which appeared to be largely a sign of frustration with what some are calling a massive security failure.

1:40 p.m.

Police were standing guard outside the two major French elementary and high schools in Ireland’s capital on Monday. Both schools asked parents to ensure that their children went straight inside to classrooms, not linger outside at the entrance or in playgrounds.

They also said parents seeking to enter the schools would have to identify themselves to security staff and give the reason for their visit.

“There is no particular concern in Ireland, but we must be vigilant,” school directors said in a message to parents and the school’s approximately 500 pupils, thanking them “for your understanding, your help and your solidarity.”

___

1:30 p.m.

Two small explosions were heard during a major police action in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek amid a manhunt for a suspect in the Paris attacks. Dozens of masked and heavily armed security officials had sealed off the area and neighbors were told to stay out of harm’s way.

Police refused to provide any details about who may have set off the explosions or the purpose for them.

Two hours into the siege a first explosion was heard and a similar followed it one hour later on a higher floor of a building with special security forces close by on roofs.

Police arrested three suspects in the impoverished Brussels neighborhood on Saturday and continued house searches. The special action began early Monday.

___

12:55 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron joined French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and other European leaders at a G-20 summit for a minute of silence in honor of the 129 victims Paris attacks.

Standing between the French and the European Union flags, the leaders stood in silence at 1100GMT Monday, at the same time as French President Francois Hollande observed a minute of silence to along with schoolchildren and bystanders in Paris.

Black ribbons were tied around the French and EU flags in a mark of mourning. The leaders were seen hugging Fabius at the end of ceremony.

G-20 leaders are meeting on the sidelines of the summit at the Turkish seaside resort of Antalya to discuss next steps in Syria and the Islamic State campaign

___

12:20 p.m.

A Russian official has revealed a possible plot ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, saying female suicide bombers had planned to smuggle explosives onto an aircraft in hand cream.

Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov, who has responsibility for counter-terrorism, said the women were detained in Austria and France.

The head of Russia’s FSB security services said in July that many countries had helped to prevent an array of attacks at the Olympics — primarily Austria, France, Germany, Georgia and the U.S. — but no details were given.

The Sochi Games were held amid high concern that insurgents from nearby restive Caucasus republics including Chechnya were planning attacks.

Syromolotov, whose comments were carried by Russian news agencies, spoke Monday before the upper house of Russia’s parliament.

___

12:05 p.m.

The French president, schoolchildren, bystanders have held a minute of silence to honor the 129 people killed in the country’s worst attacks in decades.

President Francois Hollande stood in a crowd of students from Paris’ Sorbonne university, some with their heads bowed, others looking up defiantly.

Crowds gathered at a makeshift monument at Republique Plaza in a neighborhood targeted by the attacks, where a banner reads “Can’t Scare Us.”

Schools and businesses across the country also held a moment of silence.

___

11:40 a.m.

Prime Minister David Cameron says seven terror attacks have been foiled in Britain the past six months.

Cameron, speaking on the BBC on Monday, said attacks directed at civilian targets “was the sort of thing we warned about” and that authorities would determine whether further steps are needed to thwart such atrocities.

Cameron announced earlier that his government is doubling spending on aviation security and is recruiting some 1,900 security and intelligence agents.

___

11:35 a.m.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says 168 locations across France have been raided overnight, and 104 people have been placed under house arrest in the past 48 hours.

Cazeneuve said Monday: “It’s just a start, these operations are going to continue, the response of the Republic will be huge, will be total. The one who targets the Republic, the Republic will catch him, will be implacable.”

___

11:30 a.m.

A major action with heavily armed police is underway in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek amid a manhunt for a suspect of the Paris attacks.

Police arrested three suspects in the impoverished Brussels neighborhood on Saturday and continued house searches. The special action began early Monday.

Neighbors were told to stay away from the street where masked police have sealed off a section.

___

11:15 a.m.

A senior Turkish official says authorities flagged one of the suicide bombers in the Paris attacks to their French counterparts back in 2014 but received no response.

The official said Monday that Turkish authorities identified Omar Ismail Mostefai as a possible “terror suspect” in October 2014. It notified French authorities in December 2014 and in June 2015.

The official said Turkey had no response from France until after the Paris attacks when it requested information on Mostefai.

The Paris prosecutor’s office says Mostefai had been flagged as having ties to Islamic extremism five years ago.

The Turkish official said Mostefai entered Turkey in 2013 but authorities have no record of him leaving. He said Mostefai’s case shows that intelligence-sharing and effective communication are crucial to counter-terrorism efforts.

The official cannot be named because of rules barring civil servants from speaking to reporters without authorization.

10:50 a.m.

A French official says the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks was also linked to thwarted train and church attacks.

A French official has identified the suspected mastermind as Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and says he is believed linked to thwarted attacks on a Paris-bound high-speed train and Paris area church.

The official, who has direct knowledge of the investigation, was not authorized to be publicly identified as speaking about the ongoing probe.

Seven people are in custody in Belgium suspected of links to the attacks and an international arrest warrant has been issued for a Belgian-born Frenchman believed involved in the attacks and who is still at large.

___

10:40 a.m.

France is urging its European partners to move swiftly to boost intelligence sharing, fight arms trafficking and terror financing, and strengthen border security in the wake of the Paris attacks.

The top French official in charge of European affairs, Harlem Desir, told reporters on Monday that “clearly, decisions must be taken.”

He underlined the need for “cooperation in matters of intelligence, (between) police and the judiciary, the fight against terrorism on European territory.”

Desir’s remarks came in Brussels ahead of talks with European Union foreign ministers.

He said that “France was attacked, but all of Europe was hit. We were hit together, and we will respond together.”

___

10:30 a.m.

Britain’s government says it is doubling spending on aviation security and is recruiting some 1,900 security and intelligence agents as part of Britain’s response to the terror attacks in Paris.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced the actions during the G-20 summit being concluding Monday in Turkey.

Cameron, who, pledged a 15 percent increase in the 12,700-strong staff of the security and intelligence agencies and a doubling of the 9 million pounds ($13.7 million) annual outlay on aviation security. Funds will also be provided for aviation security experts to provide regular assessments of airports around the world.

The steps are part of an extensive review of spending and not a direct response to the Paris attacks.

___

10:15 a.m.

The Paris prosecutor’s office says two more suicide bombers involved in deadly attacks in the French capital have been identified.

Prosecutors said Monday that one suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Bataclan music hall Friday night was Samy Amimour, a 28-year-old Frenchman charged in a terrorism investigation in 2012. He had been placed under judicial supervision but dropped off the radar and was the subject of an international arrest warrant.

Prosecutors say three people in Amimour’s family entourage have been in custody since early Monday.

A suicide bomber who blew himself up outside the national soccer stadium was found with a Syrian passport with the name Ahmad Al Mohammad, a 25-year-old born in Idlib. The prosecutor’s office says fingerprints from the attacker match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.

___

10 a.m.

Belgium’s foreign minister is urging European countries to exchange information more quickly and efficiently to better tackle extremists like the Islamic State group.

Didier Reynders told reporters on Monday that “we need to exchange more and more intelligence.”

He told reporters at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers that sharing intelligence “is the only one way to find the people with such a level of radicalization” as those who carried out the Paris attacks.

He also says Belgian authorities need “to organize more and more actions” in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, which has been a focal point for religious extremism and fighters going to Syria.

One of two French men believed to have carried out the attacks lived there.

___

9:40 a.m.

European stock markets have opened lower but the retreat is less than many analysts were predicting in the wake of the attacks in Paris.

Though there are concerns over the impact on the French economy, especially what happens to consumer sentiment, the markets have largely held up early Monday.

The Stoxx 50 index of leading European shares was down 0.2 percent, while the CAC-40 index in Paris was only 0.4 percent lower.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said there is “no sign of the panicked trading that could have been justifiably expected.”

Unsurprisingly, stocks within the travel and tourism sector, such as Germany’s TUI and Britain’s Thomas Cook, underperformed.

___

9:25 a.m.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says no world leader has asked for the upcoming climate conference in Paris to be delayed, but some side events might be canceled.

Valls, speaking on French radio RTL Monday morning, says the climate summit is “crucial to the planet’s future”. At least 117 heads of state and government have accepted tinvitations to come on the first day of the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 conference.

Valls says “a series of events that were scheduled might not take place,” referring to a live music show near the Eiffel tower and a march for climate scheduled on Nov. 29 in Paris’ streets.

___

9:05 a.m.

France’s prime minister says there have been “over 150 police raids” overnight in France.

Manuel Valls spoke on French radio RTL Monday morning, reaffirming President Francois Hollande’s declaration that “we are at war” against terrorism following Friday’s attacks in Paris.

Valls also warned that more attacks could hit “in the coming days, in the coming weeks.”

___

5:55 a.m.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has announced he is refusing Syrian refugees relocating to his state.

In a news release Sunday Bentley said, “After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. As your governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”

According to the release, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is working with federal agencies to monitor any possible threats. To date there has been no credible intelligence of terror threats in Alabama.

____

4:50 a.m.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius says France had the “legitimacy” to take action against Islamic State after Friday’s terror attacks in Paris.

Fabius said Sunday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Turkey that the decision to conduct airstrikes in Raqqa against Islamic State targets was a “political” one and that France had to be “present and active” following Friday’s attacks that killed 129 people.

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