11/18/2015, 00.00
FRANCE – ISLAM
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Two dead, seven arrested in major police sweep linked to deadly Paris attacks

One of the suspects, a woman, blew herself up with a suicide belt. Five police officers were wounded, and a police dog was killed. The alleged mastermind of last week’s Paris attacks, Abaaoud Abdelhamid, 27, a Belgian from Molenbeek, is still on the run. During this Friday’s prayers, French mosques will read a “solemn declaration” condemning all violence and proclaiming attachment to France’s "republican pact".

Paris (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Two suspects were killed and seven people were arrested as French police raided an address in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis.

The operation began at about 4:25 am (local time) and ended around noon. The goal was the capture of Abdel Hamid Abu Oud, the suspected mastermind in last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris.

Five people were holed up in the flat and people living in the area were told to stay indoors. Schools and stores remained closed.

Heavily armed police swapped gunfire with people at the Saint-Denis location. Two suspected jihadists were killed, including a woman who blew herself up, in the shootout.

Police arrested the other three. Two more people – a man and a woman – were arrested in the next flat.

At least five police officers were wounded; a police dog was killed.

Nothing is known about the identity of those arrested and killed, or if one of them is Abdel Hamid Abu Oud.

The latter, 27, is the son of a shopkeeper from Morocco. A Belgian national, he had been under surveillance for some time.

Apparently, he had planned an attack on a high-speed train last August and on a church in April. Both attacks failed.

Abu Oud became famous for a video (pictured) in which he appears in Syria driving a pickup truck carrying the mangled bodies of Syrian soldiers.

He grew up in Molenbeek, Brussels’ “Arab” district, where the extremist group Sharia4Belgium recruited many young people before it was outlawed.

Abu Oud’s father said that his son was "a good boy" and that he does not understand why he became radicalised.

Meanwhile, the French Muslim Council announced today that this Friday, 20 November, 2,500 mosques in all of France will read a "solemn declaration" during Friday prayers that "unequivocally condemns" all "forms of violence or terrorism."

"The Muslims of France shall also proclaim their unfailing attachment to the Republican pact that unites us all, as well as the values ​​that constitute France,” the statement read.

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