Manhunt Goes On For Suspects In Paris Attacks A week after terrorists struck Paris, the ISIS operative thought to have coordinated the attacks is dead. Police are looking for a Frenchman who appears to have been the group's operational commander.

Manhunt Goes On For Suspects In Paris Attacks

Manhunt Goes On For Suspects In Paris Attacks

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A week after terrorists struck Paris, the ISIS operative thought to have coordinated the attacks is dead. Police are looking for a Frenchman who appears to have been the group's operational commander.


Europe, once so proud of its open borders and personal freedoms, is rethinking. Justice ministers of the European Union nations are meeting in Brussels today.


They're talking about increased border security. Many want more scrutiny of travelers before they are allowed into the passport-free zone of European nations.

MONTAGNE: In France today, lawmakers are expected to extend a state of emergency by three months. French police would be able to enter homes and detain suspects without a warrant. Police are still looking for suspects, though a planner of the attacks is now dead. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston is covering the investigation, good morning.


MONTAGNE: Now, authorities have been searching for this one man who seems to have survived the attacks. Tell us about him.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, his name is Saleh Abdeslam. He's a 26-year-old French national who grew up in Belgium in a neighborhood in Brussels called Molenbeek. He and his brother Ibrahim were friends of the man who's the suspected ISIS ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud. And Ibrahim Abdeslam blew himself up in a cafe last Friday night during the attacks. And his brother, Saleh Abdeslam, escaped.

MONTAGNE: And do authorities have any idea where he is?

TEMPLE-RASTON: The interior minister said yesterday they think he's in Belgium or France. Last time they had a lead on him was about three hours after Friday night's attacks. He was in a car with two other men driving into Belgium. And he was stopped on a routine traffic check. And because it wasn't yet known that he had this possible link to the attacks and because authorities hadn't yet identified his brother as a suicide bomber at one of the cafes, they just let him go. And they've been looking for him ever since.

MONTAGNE: Looking around you there in Paris, and you've been there all week, what is the mood like as of today - Friday?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, the security is still tight. If you go into the metro, there are heavily armed officers strolling through the tunnels. People are going to work. They're sitting in cafes, but there's a real concern that this isn't over. The French news is full of these alleged sightings of Abdeslam. And authorities are on edge because they don't think they've arrested everyone who might be involved.

MONTAGNE: Does that mean that they're very concerned about follow-up attacks?

TEMPLE-RASTON: They're very concerned. If you look back to the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo editorial offices in January, there was a two-day manhunt for the two brothers who were behind it, the Kouachi brothers. Well, French police cornered them in a store near Charles de Gaulle Airport about two days later. And just as the police stormed the place an attack started on a kosher supermarket in the center of Paris. And police believe that was coordinated. So there's some concern that the announcement of the ringleader's death yesterday might be some sort of signal to people to launch an attack. And then, of course, you have this man who's at large.

MONTAGNE: And what are intelligence officials saying about all of this?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, you know, the discussion among intelligence officials is a little tense. I mean, they're already a little bit under the gun because this whole group of people were able to get into France without anybody noticing. In particular, several of the suspects were on international terrorism watch lists, and yet it seems they were able to move around Europe freely. And it appears, at least at this point in the investigation, that they were able to move back and forth between Europe and Syria. So there's a lot of soul-searching here about open borders and intelligence sharing and security. And that discussion is expected to go on for some time.

MONTAGNE: Dina Temple-Raston speaking to us from Paris, thank you very much.

TEMPLE-RASTON: You're welcome.

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