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Two killed as hunt for Paris attack mastermind intensifies

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Photo: www.eonline.com

Paris: One person was shot dead and a woman suicide bomber blew herself up on Wednesday here as the police mounted a major operation to get the man who masterminded the Paris terror attack, media reports said.

As many as seven deafening blasts shook the Paris suburb of Saint Denis and heavy gunfire broke out at about 4.30 a.m. when the police surrounded an apartment where key suspect Abdelhamid Abaaoud was holed up.

Al Jazeera reported that suspects of the deadly November 13 Paris attacks that left at least 129 people dead were in that apartment. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Friday night’s horrific attacks.

Christian, a resident of Saint Denis’ rue de la République, told local French channel BFMTV that there was noise of gunfire and police fired shots into an apartment. Later blasts smashed the windows in the flat and a mattress was flung out of the window, The Telegraph reported.

Sources told Al Jazeera that two people were killed and two others were detained in the operation. The report said it was not clear who the victims were. Three police officers were also wounded in the initial shoot-out, the sources said.

A passer-by was killed during gunfire, reported Xinhua, citing BFMTV. The Telegraph reported that a woman suicide bomber blew herself up.

The target of the police operation was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the key suspect of the terror attacks at six locations in Paris, leaving over 350 injured.

Another suspect, Salah Abdeslam, was also said to be a target in the raid.

Heavily armed special police units and ambulances gathered at the scene as a helicopter hovered over the area.

Al Jazeera described Saint-Denis a relatively poor area, housing many immigrants. It is near the area of the national stadium Stade de France, where suicide bombers had struck on Friday.

Officials said they blocked off a street in the area, as ambulances and fire engines lined the streets.

(IANS)

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Man Accused in Christchurch Mosque Shootings Charged with Terrorism

The single charge filed Tuesday against Australian Brenton Tarrant is the first of its kind

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Man, Christchurch, Mosque, Terrorism
Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, is lead into the dock for his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. (Suspect's face blurred at source) VOA

Authorities in New Zealand have charged the self-avowed white supremacist who killed 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques back in March with terrorism.

The single charge filed Tuesday against Australian Brenton Tarrant is the first of its kind under New Zealand’s Terrorism Suppression Act, which was passed in 2002 in the wake of the al-Qaida-led terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. the previous year. Prosecutors have also charged him with an additional count of murder over a worshipper who died in the hospital earlier this month, along with two additional counts of attempted murder, bringing that number to 40.

Up to 200 family members of the victims and survivors of the attack were informed of the new charges at a private meeting with police.

The 28-year-old Tarrant live-streamed the March 15 shootings at the al-Noor and Linwood mosques on Facebook from a head-mounted camera.

Man, Christchurch, Mosque, Terrorism
Authorities in New Zealand have charged the self-avowed white supremacist who killed 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques. Flickr

He is currently being held at a maximum security prison where he was ordered to undergo psychiatric tests to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial. His next court date is June 14.

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The 28-year-old Tarrant e-mailed a lengthy white nationalist manifesto to more than 30 recipients just minutes before the attacks – including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – in which he allegedly denounced Muslims and called immigrants “invaders.” (VOA)