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Watch: Firefight between French police, ISIS terrorists caught on camera

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Paris: A troubling video showing a firefight between the French police and the terrorists who attacked Bataclan concert hall in Paris has surfaced.

Award-winning photographer Patrick Zachmann of Magnum Photos captured the firefight with his iPhone. The video has now gone viral.

Watch it here:

Meanwhile, another video footage emerged on Sunday which appears to show the moment gunfire halted a concert by Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan hall in Paris.

Watch it here:

France was in mourning on Sunday as investigators identified one of the seven terrorists who massacred 129 people in Mumbai-type attacks here as a Parisian with a criminal record.

A severed finger of the terrorist was found in the blood-stained Bataclan concert hall where one group of killers went on a shooting spree when an American band was playing, killing 80 to 100 music lovers.

Prosecutors identified the terrorist as Omar Ismail Mostefai, a 29-year-old French citizen of Algerian origin with a criminal record. He was known to have been radicalized, media reports said.

A car was also found in a Paris suburb with many automatic rifles hidden in its back seat.

French prosecutors said the bloody Friday night attacks on six spots packed with tourists in Paris were carried out by three coordinated teams of gunmen and suicide bombers.

The deadly attack — akin to the way terrorists from Pakistan ravaged Mumbai in November 2008 killing 166 Indians and foreigners — also left an estimated 350 people wounded. Many were in critical condition.

The Friday targets also included a major stadium, restaurants and bars in Paris.

It was the worst act of violence in Paris since World War II. President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and ordered a curfew in the French capital — for the first time in 70 years.

Security forces have said all the terrorists involved in the well-coordinated attacks were killed. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bloodbath and threatened more bloodshed because of France’s participation in the US-led attacks on the terrorist group.

Six suspects were detained in Paris, among them Mostefai’s brother, father and sister-in-law. They were being interrogated.

BBC said investigators were working on the theory that there may have been another team of attackers who managed to flee the scene.

The discovery of a Syrian passport near the body of one of the attackers has raised suspicion that some of the killers may have entered Europe as a part of an influx of people feeling Syria’s civil war.

Amid national mourning and a sense of disbelief, France continued the grim task of identifying the dead and tending to the wounded.

According to Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, “several dozen” bodies had been identified.

The victims, besides the French, include those from Britain, Sweden, Italy, the US and Spain.

Three crisis centres were set up to counsel victims and their families. Many others resorted to social media to try to find out the fates of their missing loved ones, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Alexis Debreil, 38, was recovering at a hospital after being shot in the knee at Le Petit Cambodge restaurant where he was dining with two friends.

He said people were lying on top of one another on the floor of the restaurant as the bullets whizzed above.

“I know a lady died next to me. At one point I tried to wake her up. I stroked her hair and said, ‘Stay with us, hang in there.’ I know she was alive at that point because I saw her torso move. Then she went completely white and I knew she’d died,” he recounted.

In response to appeal for blood donations, Parisians responded en masse, lining up at hospitals and other centres.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said France would continue with air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria. President Hollande cancelled his plans to attend the G20 in Turkey.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

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Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Fake accounts on Twitter are many. VOA

Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking steps to police terrorists and hate groups on their sites, but more work needs to be done, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday.

The organization released its annual digital terrorism and hate report card and gave a B-plus to Facebook, a B-minus to Twitter and a C-plus to Google.

Facebook spokeswoman Christine Chen said the company had no comment on the report. Representatives for Google and Twitter did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

ALSO READ: Social Media: Here is how it is creating Lifestyle pressure on Youth!

Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said Facebook in particular built “a recognition that bad folks might try to use their platform” as its business model. “There is plenty of material they haven’t dealt with to our satisfaction, but overall, especially in terms of hate, there’s zero tolerance,” Cooper said at a New York City news conference.

Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Wiesenthal Center, said hateful and violent posts on Instagram, which is part of Facebook, are quickly removed, but not before they can be widely shared.

He pointed to Instagram posts threatening terror attacks at the upcoming World Cup in Moscow. Another post promoted suicide attacks with the message, “You only die once. Why not make it martyrdom.”

Cooper said Twitter used to merit an F rating before it started cracking down on Islamic State tweets in 2016. He said the move came after testimony before a congressional committee revealed that “ISIS was delivering 200,000 tweets a day.”

ALSO READ: Teenagers using Social Media more likely to suffer sleep deprivations: Study

facebook
This photo shows Facebook launched on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. VOA

Cooper and Eaton said that as the big tech companies have gotten more aggressive in shutting down accounts that promote terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism, promoters of terrorism and hate have migrated to other sites such as VK.com, a Facebook lookalike that’s based in Russia.

There also are “alt-tech” sites like GoyFundMe, an alternative to GoFundMe, and BitChute, an alternative to Google-owned YouTube, Cooper said.

“If there’s an existing company that will give them a platform without looking too much at the content, they’ll use it,” he said. “But if not, they are attracted to those platforms that have basically no rules.”

The Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and terrorism. (VOA)