Franceâ€™s response to the Paris terror attacks gained pace on Monday with counterterrorism raids arrests across the country with more than nine arrests and â€œmassiveâ€ airstrikes launched on Islamic State targets in Syria, as the prime minister, Manuel Valls, warned of potential further attacks.
Tactical police units led raids in four locations in southern and northern France early on Monday, reportedly arresting at least nine people and seizing weapons from homes. The raids, conducted as part of the countryâ€™s state of emergency, coincided with airstrikes on Isis targets late on Sunday in which French aircraft dropped 20 bombs across the groupâ€™s northern Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. Valls said: â€œWe know that operations were being prepared and are still being prepared, not only against France but other European countries too.â€
The French response came amid reports that a key suspect in the Paris attack was let go in the first frantic hours after the attacks on Friday night which killed 129 people and injured more than 350. Twenty-six-year-old Salah Abdeslam, one of three brothers allegedly involved in the attacks, was travelling in a Volkswagen Golf with two other men when they were pulled over for a routine check near the French-Belgian border early on Saturday morning. After offering identification, the men were allowed to continue their journey, because their names were not yet on any wanted list. It later emerged that Salah Abdeslam was the man who rented a Belgian-registered VW Polo that was parked outside the Bataclan concert hall where 89 people died. One of his brothers, 31-year-old Ibrahim Abdeslam, blew himself up in the attack on the rue de Voltaire near the concert hall. Another Abdeslam brother,Â has been arrested in Belgium.