Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Paris police evacuate two more migrant camps

June 4, 2018


Paris police on Monday began evacuating around 1,000 migrants from two makeshift camps in the city, five days after another 1,000 were taken to temporary lodgings.

The operation began at dawn at a camp along the Canal St Martin northeast of the city centre where an estimated 550 mainly Afghan migrants were staying, an AFP reporter said.

© AFP | The operation began at dawn at a makeshift camp along the Canal St Martin where some 550 mainly Afghan migrants were staying

Another 450 people were being evacuated from a camp to the north at Porte de la Chapelle, police and city authorities said in a joint statement.

The St Martin Canal is near the site of a sprawling former camp by the Stalingrad Metro stop, which was cleared only to spring up again several times last year.

Claims for refugee status will be given a “complete and in-depth examination”, the statement said.

Monday’s operation comes less than a week after the dismantling of a camp along the Canal St Denis, north of the St Martin canal, where around 1,000 migrants mainly from Eritrea and Sudan had sheltered.

Concerns had grown in recent weeks over the conditions at the makeshift camps. One migrant drowned in the St Martin canal last month, while a brawl left a migrant seriously injured at the St Denis camp.

“They say we can stay in shelters for not very long, that we’ll have three meals a day. That’s good,” said a migrant who gave his name only as Souleimane, wearing a rasta cap over his dreadlocks. “Life here was very, very difficult.”

Many migrants hope for refugee status but may be facing expulsion under centrist President Emmanuel Macron’s tougher approach to immigration.

Some have arrived in Paris from the northern port of Calais, where migrants have flocked for years hoping to stow away on trucks to Britain.

France received a record 100,000 asylum applications last year and offered refugee status to around 30,000 people, official figures show. Forced expulsions numbered 14,900.




Police clear out two more migrant camps in Paris

June 4, 2018

French police began on Monday to clear out two illegal refugee camp sites in Paris, following a similar operation last week, in the government’s latest attempt to deal with a migrant influx that France has been facing for the past three years.

Image result for Tents, paris, migrants, photos

FILE PHOTO: Tents where migrants live in a makeshift city in Paris, France

A statement from the Paris police department said authorities were in the process of clearing out two illegal refugee campsites at the Porte des Poissonniers, in northeast Paris, and another site next to the city’s Canal Saint Martin.

Last week, authorities had cleared out around 1,000 migrants from the larger “Millenaire” camp, also in northeast Paris. Those migrants had subsequently been taken to various accommodation centers around the capital.

Image may contain: tree and outdoor
FILE PHOTO: Tents where migrants live in a makeshift city are seen along the Quai de Valmy of the canal Saint-Martin in Paris, France, May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Europe has faced a migrant crisis since 2015, following wars in Libya and Syria. More than 1 million people from Africa and the Middle East, as well as many from Afghanistan, have tried to reach the continent via Turkey or by sea.

In France, much of the migrant influx ended up in the northern port of Calais, where a giant slum was cleared by the authorities in late 2016. Most of the rest have gathered in Paris and the southeast near the Franco-Italian border.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore


Police evacuate ‘Millénnaire’ migrant camp in Paris

May 30, 2018

Paris city authorities moved in early Wednesday to start clearing out a makeshift migrant camp holding up to 1,500 people in the French capital that had become a focal point in the country’s immigration debate.

© Christophe Archambault, AFP | A migrant camp at Porte de la Villette in Paris on April 20, 2018.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24 

Officials began clearing the so-called Millénnaire tent camp on the city’s edge alongside a canal used by joggers and cyclists. It is the largest of several around Paris. Two migrants drowned this month in canals along the encampments.

City authorities said the migrants, mainly from Africa, will be taken to gymnasiums in the Paris region.

The camps are at the heart of a political debate between French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo over how to handle migrants.

Image result for Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, photos
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo (R) and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Police have cleared out some 28,000 migrants from Paris camps in the past three years, but the arrivals continue.

Deadly violence in camps

Paris officials say there will be a second phase soon, to remove around 800 migrants along Canal Saint-Martin and up to 400 in Porte de la Chapelle. It’s the city’s solution to an untenable situation.

Social workers such as Louis Barla of Médecins du Monde say hygiene, violent incidents and smuggling are serious concerns in migrant camps. “For the first time we have had deaths. We have two confirmed [cases].  We have seen serious wounds and emergencies have been reported. So for us, the situation has degenerated.”

At Canal Saint-Denis, refugees are mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, some of whom have made perilous trips across the Mediterranean or across the Alps. It’s a different profile at the Canal Saint-Martin camp, which holds mostly Afghans who have been refused asylum elsewhere in Europe.

Paris officials and the French government have bickered over the situation. A few days ago, Interior Minister Collomb urged Paris to make sure the camps don’t come back. But Paris city hall said the state should be putting in place a plan to integrate the migrants after the evacuation.

Those bussed out will be taken to shelters in and around Paris, where they’ll stay briefly to have their administrative situation examined. The interior ministry has stressed that this will mean some being expelled from France. For the rest though, NGOs fear some will quickly return to the streets.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Stakes Its Future on Europe

May 28, 2018

No. 1 in India and big at home in China, company is testing its formula in more affluent markets

The crowd outside Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s newly opened Paris store last week. The company, which began its European push in Spain last year, plans to open up to 10 stores in the French capital.
The crowd outside Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s newly opened Paris store last week. The company, which began its European push in Spain last year, plans to open up to 10 stores in the French capital. PHOTO: XU TIAN/ZUMA PRESS

Smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. shot to success selling stylish but low-cost models in emerging markets, including at home in China.

But can that formula work in the affluent markets of Europe, where Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. hold sway?

The answer could determine whether Xiaomi is worth the valuation of at least $70 billion that people familiar with the matter say it is seeking in a public offering planned for this year.

Last week, Beijing-based Xiaomi opened the first of what it says will be up to 10 Xiaomi-branded stores in Paris, and one in Milan. In the Paris store, a five-minute walk from the Pompidou Center, Xiaomi is selling two higher-end smartphone models as well as some of its other electronic gizmos, including portable speakers and an electric scooter.

The European push began last year in Spain, now home to three Xiaomi stores, and beyond France and Italy there are plans for the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands, said Wang Xiang, senior vice president in charge of global expansion.

“We see a great opportunity,” said Mr. Wang, explaining that competition in Europe “isn’t strong enough.”

The stakes there are high for Xiaomi, whose U.S. plans are clouded by rising trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. Chinese technology companies are running into a wall of U.S. government hostility. Earlier this year, Huawei Technologies Co., the third-biggest phone seller globally, failed in a bid to enter the U.S. market. In April the Commerce Department barred American suppliers from selling parts to ZTE Corp., the fourth-biggest smartphone vendor in the U.S., forcing a manufacturing shutdown.

Mr. Wang said Xiaomi plans to enter the U.S., but is in no hurry: “We have to make one place successful and then move to another.”

Sales in Europe are off to a promising start. Xiaomi was the sixth most popular maker in Western Europe in the first quarter, shipping 621,000 units, up from just 18,000 a year earlier, according to market-research firm IDC. It is No. 1 in Greece, with a 24% share—outpacing Samsung and Apple—and No. 4 in Spain, with a 12% share, IDC says.

Besides opening stores to build brand awareness, Xiaomi has struck deals with four major cellular carriers, including Orange SA, to sell its phones, Mr. Wang said. A few weeks ago, Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison said it would sell Xiaomi phones in 3 Group retail stores in seven European countries.

The low-end Redmi series accounts for 92% of Xiaomi’s smartphone sales, according to market-research firm Canalys, but the company has been targeting more-upmarket consumers with models like its top-of-the-line Mi Mix 2S. It offers capabilities similar to those of top-end rivals, but at a lower price—€500 ($483) in France, where Apple’s iPhone X starts at €1,159.

Inside the Paris store, where Xiaomi is pushing its top-end Mi Mix 2S smartphone.
Inside the Paris store, where Xiaomi is pushing its top-end Mi Mix 2S smartphone. PHOTO: CHRISTOPHE MORIN/BLOOMBERG NEWS

It remains to be seen how this approach will work in markets where buyers of high-end phones have been willing to spend more—and where many phones are sold in partnership with mobile-phone carriers or through stores used to a more comfortable margin.

Founded in 2010 by Chinese entrepreneur Lei Jun, now 49 years old, Xiaomi is the world’s fourth-largest smartphone company, trailing Samsung, Apple and Huawei, according to IDC. Sales have been spurred by success in India, where Xiaomi last year became the top seller, and a market-share rebound in China after a string of missed sales forecasts.

Xiaomi relies more on word-of-mouth and social media and less on advertising than other smartphone makers. The strategy has worked in China, where it has a passionate fan base, and Mr. Lei is something of a celebrity. Its product launches draw Apple-style crowds, filling large venues.

Translating that strategy to Europe could take time, particularly without the help of celebrity endorsements, Mr. Wang acknowledges. The company is promoting its Paris store, at least in part, with social-media posts featuring photos of the waiting crowds outside.

“For people who don’t know us, the perception is that low price means low quality,” Mr. Wang says. Turning those views around, he said, “takes time.”


France plans to forcibly evacuate migrant camps in Paris

May 23, 2018

France’s interior minister has ordered Paris forcibly evacuate migrant camps that have sprung up along its canals. The move is emblematic of France’s tough new approach to migrants.

Afghan refugees gather in a makeshift camp made of camping tents by the Saint-Martin canal

The French Interior Ministry on Monday pledged to evict about 2,300 migrants camped next to popular Parisian canals.

The contentious decision has highlighted the problem of how European nations are managing the continuing migrant influx.

For several months migrants have been settling on the banks of two canals in the northeast of Paris. Aid organizations have sounded the alarm about the living conditions there after two migrants drowned and others were injured in fights.

Read more: New French immigration bill provokes backlash

Conflict with Paris

Minister Gerard Collomb expressed “regret” at Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s refusal to evict the group. He said humanitarian problems in the camps had become unbearable for Parisians and instructed authorities to quickly work out an evacuation plan.

Collomb clashed with Mayor Hidalgo over where to take the migrants. Hidalgo and aid groups want them placed in shelters rather than being evacuated in a police operation and dispersed or summarily deported. Migrant arrivals haven’t slowed despite police already evicting about 28,000 migrants from other Paris camps in the past three years.

Read more: Emmanuel Macron vows not to allow Calais migrant camp repeat

French President Emmanuel Macron has been criticized for policies of stopping migration at its source and using a police approach at home. Collomb’s refusal to shelter the Paris migrants exemplifies the approach.

Collomb called on Parisian authorities to ensure such camps stop springing up. “This situation will be repeated indefinitely if measures are not taken by local authorities to prevent the camps from reconstituting themselves.”

The migrants are mainly Sudanese, Eritrean and Afghan, many of whom endured difficult stays in Libya, dangerous boat trips across the Mediterranean and journeys on foot through the Alps.

aw/kms (AP, AFP, dpa)

ISIS releases footage of Paris attacker pledging allegiance

May 14, 2018

Islamic State, which has claimed the deadly knife attack in Paris this weekend, released a video on Sunday of a young man it claims was the attacker pledging allegiance to the jihadi group.

© AMAQ NEWS AGENCY/AFP | “The author of this knife attack in Paris is a soldier of the Islamic State,” Amaq said, adding that it was in retaliation against international forces including France which are fighting jihadists in Syria and Iraq


The IS propaganda agency Amaq posted the video online using Telegram, featuring a young man wearing a hood with only his eyes exposed as the lower part of his face is covered by a black cloth.

Speaking in French, he vows allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The attack in central Paris on Saturday night by a knifeman, later shot dead by police, left one person dead and four wounded.

“The author of this knife attack in Paris is a soldier of the Islamic State and the operation had been carried out in retaliation against the states in the coalition,” said a “security source” at Amaq, referring to the international forces including France which are fighting jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

The attacker killed at the scene by French police has been identified as Khamzat Azimov, a 20-year-old French citizen born in Chechnya who had been on two watchlists for suspected Islamist extremism.

See also:

ISIS releases footage of Paris attacker pledging allegiance


Knifeman in Paris terror attack was flagged as potential threat — “Allahu akbar” has become synonymous with “A Muslim is going to try to kill you.”

May 13, 2018

The terrorist behind the deadly Paris knife attackwas a French citizen born in Russia’s Chechnya who was on the police’s radar for radicalism, authorities said Sunday.

Police identified Khamzat Azimov, 20, as the man who shouted “Allahu akbar” – God is greatest – before killing one person and slashing four others in the City of Light’s lively Opera district Saturday night, AFP reported.

He was shot dead by police, who first tried to stop him using a stun gun.

ISIS called the attacker one of its “soldiers.”

French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said the assailant has been categorized as “fiche S” since 2016 – meaning officials had flagged him as being a possible threat to national security on a nationwide database of thousands of people suspected of links to radicalism.

Griveaux rejected criticism that the government was not doing enough to stop terrorist attacks in the country saying, “Zero risk does not exist.”

Azimov was born in the largely Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya but grew up in Strasbourg and became French when his mother obtained citizenship in 2010. Authorities were speaking to his parents Sunday and looking into whether he had any accomplices.

The man had no arrests on his records and didn’t know any of his victims, Interior Ministry spokesman Frederic de Lanouvelle told the Associated Press.

A photo verified by officials to Reuters show Azimov clad in black sweatpants with brown hair and a beard, laying bare-chested and bloodied in the street after being shot.

Witnesses of the attack described him as looking crazed.

“I was working in the restaurant and suddenly I heard a woman screaming … he came and attacked her,” said Jonathan, a waiter working nearby who wouldn’t give his last name. “That’s when the panic started, everyone started screaming and trying to reach our restaurant. … The attacker just kept walking around with his knife in his bloodied hands.”

“Police were quickly on the scene, in less than five minutes. They encircled him and he tried to attack them with a knife but they shot him down,” he told reporters.

When police arrived, officials said the man charged at them shouting, “I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you!”

The man he killed was a 29-years-old from Luxembourg and those wounded included two men in their 30s, one 26-year-old woman and one 54-year-old woman, who was gravely hurt, according to AFP.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences to the victim’s families.

“France has once again paid the price of blood but will not give an inch to the enemies of freedom,” he tweeted.

Since January 2015, 240 people have been killed in terrorist attacks in France, keeping the country on high alert.

The deadliest of the incidents took place in November 2015, when 130 people were killed in a series of coordinated attacks.

This is the first time an assailant of Chechen origin has carried out a terrorist attack in France, the BBC reported.

Jihadist groups, including ISIS, have long operated in Chechnya and are actively recruiting fighters there to send to Syria and elsewhere.

Ramzan Kadyrov, who was nominated for the Chechen presidency by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007 has tried to squash ISIS recruitment but human rights activists say his brutal measures actually help radicalization.

With Post wires

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One killed in Paris knife attack by man shouting ‘Allahu akbar’

May 13, 2018

An assailant shouting “Allahu akbar” killed a passer-by in a knife attack that also wounded four others in the heart of Paris late on Saturday before he was shot dead by police, French authorities said.

Emergency vehicles in Paris after a man stabbed several people on Saturday.Credit Thomas Samson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Story by Reuters

The country has been on high alert amid a series of attacks, commissioned or inspired by the Islamic State militant group, that has killed more than 240 people since 2015.

France “will not yield an inch to the enemies of freedom,” President Emmanuel Macron said after the attack, praising officers for “neutralizing the terrorist.”

The first call to police was placed at 8:47 p.m. local time (1847 GMT), officers were on the scene within five minutes, and the attacker was “neutralized” within nine minutes of that first call, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told reporters.

Police union representative Rocco Contento told Reuters that the assailant, after attacking bystanders with a knife, rushed at police shouting “I will kill you, I will kill you!”

He was then shot by the officers.

The attack took place in the heart of the French capital in a district popular with tourists for its many restaurants and cafes, landmark retail stores, and the Paris opera.

Prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters the police’s anti-terrorism unit would launch an investigation, given the aggressor’s “mode of operation.” The identity of the attacker man was not yet known, officials said early on Sunday.

A picture seen by Reuters, which a source said showed the attacker, showed a bare-chested and bearded young man dressed in black trousers.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility via its Amaq news agency, but provided no proof for its claim.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb called it an “odious” attack.

Witnesses described for French media how they saw the assailant running towards police officers who shot him.

“We were told to get into a bar quickly. I was curious and went outside again. Outside, I saw a person on the ground about 200 metres from me. The police, fire brigade and ambulance arrived,” one female witness told LCI television. “I could not see anything else after that.”

Authorities did not immediately reveal the identity of the victim.

TV footage showed forensic police at the scene.

(Corrects assailant’s shouts in headline and intro to “Allahu akbar”)

Additional reporting by Julie Carriat, Bate Felix and Brian Love; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Daniel Wallis

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New York Times:


BBC News

A knifeman has killed one person and wounded four in a suspected terror attack in central Paris, French officials say.

The attacker was then shot dead by police in the Opéra district. Witnesses say they heard him shout “Allah Akbar”.

So-called Islamic State (IS) later said one of its “soldiers” had carried out the attack on Saturday evening.

Judicial sources told French media the attacker was a man born in 1997 in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya.

The sources said his parents had been held for questioning.

Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said the victim of the attack was a 29-year-old man, but gave no further details.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted (in French): “France has once again paid in blood, but will not give an inch to the enemies of freedom.”

How did the events unfold?

The attacker began stabbing passers-by at about 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on the rue Monsigny.

Eyewitnesses described him as a young man with brown hair and a beard, dressed in black tracksuit trousers.


The man tried to enter several bars and restaurants but was blocked by people inside. Police arrived at the scene within minutes.

They first tried to stop the assailant with a stun-gun before shooting him dead.

An eyewitness, named as Gloria, told AFP news agency: “We didn’t know what was going on, we were quickly moved inside the bar, I went outside and I saw a man lying on the floor.”

Forensic officers work at the scene of the attack in Paris, France. Photo: 12 May 2018Image copyrightAFP
Image captionForensic officers have been examining the scene of the attack

Jonathan, a waiter at a local restaurant, told AFP: “I saw him with a knife in his hand. He looked crazy.”

He said a woman the attacker had stabbed ran into into the restaurant bleeding. The assailant tried to follow her inside, but was fended off and finally fled.

Two of the wounded in the attack are in a serious condition but do not have life-threatening injuries.

Later in the evening the IS group said it was behind the attack, in a brief statement posted on its news outlet.

How did French authorities react?

The anti-terrorism unit of the Paris prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said police were on the scene five minutes after an emergency call and the attacker was killed “less than nine minutes later”.

Mr Collomb praised police for their “cool response”. He said his first thoughts were “with the victims of this heinous act”.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted (in French): “Tonight, our city was bruised.”

“I want to tell them that all Parisians are on their side,” she added.

Police and emergency services at the scene of the attack in Paris, France. Photo: 12 May 2018Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe Opera district is renowned for its nightlife

How has France been countering security threats?

France has been on high alert following a series of attacks. More than 230 people have been killed by IS-inspired jihadists in the past three years.

The deadliest violence occurred on 13 November 2015, when gunmen and suicide bombers struck various venues in Paris almost simultaneously – killing a total 130 people.

After winning last year’s elections, President Macron pledged that fighting Islamist terrorism would be his top foreign policy priority.

Defeating IS in Iraq and Syria must go hand-in-hand with anti-terror measures in Africa, he said.

Eastern Libyan commander Haftar returning to Benghazi Thurs after Paris treatment

April 25, 2018

Here is a guy lucky to be alive. First a rumor said he had a stroke — then that he had died….

Khalifa Haftar, the powerful military commander who is the dominant figure in eastern Libya, will return to Benghazi on Thursday, a spokesman for his forces said on Wednesday, after receiving medical treatment in Paris.

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FILE PHOTO: Libya’s eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar attends General Security conference, in Benghazi, Libya, October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo

Haftar had been in Paris on a foreign tour two weeks ago and his spokesman said he was treated there after feeling unwell.

From Paris, Haftar flew to Cairo for talks with officials from Egypt, his main backer, several Libyan and Egyptian sources told Reuters.

Haftar, 75, has long been seen as a likely contender for national power, and reports about his health sparked a flurry of speculation inside Libya.

A representative of his Libyan National Army (LNA) said that on his return, Haftar would take part in celebrations marking the anniversary of his “Karama” (Dignity) campaign, the military operation he started in 2014 to drive Islamist militants out of Benghazi.

He declared victory in July 2017, though sporadic fighting continued until late last year.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Aidan Lewis and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Kevin Liffey


Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam convicted of attempted murder in Brussels shootout

April 23, 2018

The sole surviving member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) cell behind the 2015 Paris extremist attacks, who was once Europe’s most wanted fugitive, was found guilty Monday of attempted terrorist murder.

By Lizzie Dearden

The Independent

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam has been convicted of attempted murder over a shoot-out with police in Belgium.

The 27-year-old is allegedly among the only surviving members of an Isis cell that murdered 130 victims in Paris in 2015, fleeing the city to his hometown of Brussels.

Four months later, police investigating a terrorist safe house in the city were met with a hail of gunfire and killed one militant, before finding Abdeslam’s fingerprints and other clues that led them to a hideout nearby.

Abdeslam was charged with opening fire on police in the gun battle and with involvement in the Paris attacks, and has been imprisoned in northern France.

Paris Attacks Suspect Leaves French Prison To Stand Trial In Brussels: Source

Salah Abdeslam, Paris attacker

He attended the opening day of his trial in February but later refused to answer questions.

Court president Luc Hennart said he and accomplice Sofiane Ayari, who admitted fighting for Isis in Syria, chose not to attend the reading of the verdict and sentencine,

“Their presence was not mandatory,” he added. “If they had wished to be present they could have been there, but they decided not to be present.”

November 13, 2015: ISIS militants killed 130 people in France's worst atrocity since World War II

November 13, 2015: ISIS militants killed 130 people in France’s worst atrocity since World War II

Federal prosecutors are seeking 20-year prison sentences for both men for attempted murder with a terrorist connection.

It is unclear when Abdeslam will face trial over the Paris attacks, while several other suspected terrorists have been imprisoned for links with the massacres and bombings in Brussels.

Abdeslam became the world’s most wanted terrorist when he allegedly fled Isis’ massacres on 13 November 2015, calling friends to drive him back to Belgium after his own brother blew himself up at a restaurant.

He passed through police checkpoints unhindered and disappeared with the suspected help of accomplices linked to the criminal underworld, where he was formerly known as a drug dealer and thief.

The trail went cold until March 2016, when Belgian and French police stormed what they believed was an empty terrorist safe house in the Brussels district of Forest.

But they were met by a hail of bullets and Algerian Isis militant Mohamed Belkaid was shot dead as two suspects fled across surrounding rooftops.

A search of the flat resulted in the recovery of Abdeslam’s fingerprints on a glass, convincing authorities that he was still in Brussels, and the renewed search led police to his hideout just metres from his former home in Molenbeek.

November 2015 Paris attacks

See also:

Verdict delivered against sole surviving Paris attacks suspect