Another Attack Foiled: Explosive Paris Raid Stops Suspects

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PARIS — French officials said a terror cell neutralized Wednesday was ready to act.
The suspected ringleader of the deadly attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was the target of a massive police raid in a northern Paris suburb that has resulted in the deaths of two suspects. Also, two Air France flights were diverted in U.S. airspace because of bomb threats.

Here’s the key information at this stage:

Suspects killed, others arrested in Paris suburb

Two major police raids took place in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis, home of the Stade de France national stadium, the site of one of Friday’s attacks. One was at an apartment; the other – still ongoing — at a church.

Police sources tell CNN the raid at the apartment was “right on time.” The suspects were “about to move on some kind of operation,” the source said.

Police fire 5,000 rounds during the assault.

Two suspected terrorists were killed in the apartment raid. Five police officers were injured, and a police dog was killed, police said.

Their identities are still being investigated.

One of the suspected terrorists blew herself up with a suicide vest, officials said.

 Seven arrests were made.

The apparent ringleader of the attack Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was the main target, a senior Belgian counterterrorism official told CNN but the official cautioned authorities weren’t certain that Abaaoud was at the location.

CNN’s Atika Shubert reported five or six explosions at the scene. It wasn’t clear if the explosions were controlled or otherwise.

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Bomb threats ground flights

Two Air France flights headed for Paris — one from Washington’s Dulles Airport and the other from Los Angeles — were diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Salt Lake City, respectively, following bomb threats, officials say.

Both flights have now been searched and rendered safe.

It is unknown whether the same person called in both threats.

Obama slams states over refugee refusals

As a growing number of U.S. governors said they didn’t want Syrian refugees in their states, President Barack Obama fired back.

“I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for (ISIS) than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate,” Obama told reporters. Arguments that there should be a religious test before refugees are admitted, or that only Syrian Christians should be allowed in are “offensive” and “contrary to American values,” he said.

More than two dozen U.S. states have said they oppose accepting any refugees from Syria. The State Department said it is taking the governors’ concerns seriously, but it remains “steadfastly committed” to bringing in 10,000 Syrian refugees next year.

Multiple cell phones recovered

Investigators have recovered multiple cell phones at the scenes of the attacks believed to belong to the attackers, a possible break that could help unravel the plot and the suspected network behind it, counterterrorism and intelligence officials said.

According to the officials, at least one phone contained a message, sent some time before the attacks began, to the effect of: OK, we’re ready.

But cracking into the terrorists’ communication won’t be easy.

Investigators have found encrypted apps on the phones, which appear to have left no trace of messages or any indication of who would have been receiving them, according to officials briefed on the French investigation.

Group: Many ISIS members killed in air strikes

Thirty-three ISIS members have been killed by French and other military airstrikes in the last 72 hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring group, said Wednesday.

“Dozens of ISIS leaders and their families” are moving from Raqqa, ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital, in northern Syria, toward the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Iraq, the Observatory said.

Charlie Hebdo remains defiant

The latest Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine is expected to hit newsstands on Wednesday. The cover reads: “They have the weapons. Screw them. We have the champagne!” The magazine’s office was the target of a terror attack in January.

One soccer game canceled; another goes on

German officials said they haven’t found any explosives or made any arrests at a stadium in Hannover, Germany, which was evacuated just before a friendly match between Germany and the Netherlands. Officials canceled the match after police uncovered “serious plans for explosives.”

The France-England soccer friendly kicked off under tight security at Wembley Stadium in London. Players and fans united to sing the French national anthem, followed by a minute of silence.

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