Amid heavy security in Paris, Hollande asks Parliament for greater powers to eliminate Islamic State

The French president is asking for changes to the nation's constitution that would give authorities greater authorization to seek out and capture IS militants.

By Andrew V. Pestano and Doug G. Ware
Amid heavy security in Paris, Hollande asks Parliament for greater powers to eliminate Islamic State
France arrested 23 people after conducting more than 150 police raids early Monday as officials identified the suspected mastermind behind the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the attacks were coordinated from Syria as the police raids were carried out against a "terrorist army." Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

PARIS, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- French authorities continued an aggressive manhunt Monday to track down the perpetrators responsible for last week's attacks on Paris, and President Francois Hollande called for a change to France's constitution that will allow the nation to go after the Islamic State in what he said amounts to all-out war against the terror group.

Nearly two dozen suspects were arrested Monday and officials identified the suspected mastermind behind Friday's bloody attacks. In delivering a sober message, Hollande said his country is at war and pledged to destroy the militant group.


Security services also executed more than 150 property searches in France and Belgium, placed house arrest orders on more than 100 people and deported nearly 40 more, CBS News reported Monday.

Police said they were still searching for a suspected attacker named Salah Abdeslam -- who's accused of helping his brother carry out a suicide bombing on the Comptoir Voltaire cafe, which was one of several locations targeted in Friday's coordinated attacks that killed at least 129 people and hospitalized nearly many others.

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Authorities said they also believe Abdeslam, 26, rented a vehicle used in the attacks. Another brother of Abdeslam's said his parents are shocked that two of their sons were involved.

"[They] are in shock. They don't quite realize what has happened," Mohamed Abdeslam said.

Earlier Monday, French authorities identified the suspected mastermind behind the attacks as Abdelhamid Abaaoud -- a Belgian citizen and Moroccan native who is believed to be in Syria. Abaaoud, who also uses the name Abu Omar al Baljiki, is believed to be the older brother of Younes Abaaoud, 14, who is accused of travelling to Syria to fight for the Islamic State.

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IS -- also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL -- has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the attacks were coordinated from Syria. He said the police raids were carried out against a "terrorist army."

"We are making use of the legal framework of the state of emergency to question people who are part of the radical jihadist movement ... and all those who advocate hate of the republic," Valls said.


The BBC identified five of the suspected Paris attackers as Brahim Abdeslam, Omar Ismail Mostefai, Bilal Hadfi, Ahmad al-Mohammad and Samy Amimour.

At least three of the militants linked to Friday's attacks previously fought with ISIS and were already known to French intelligence, officials said.

Monday, heavy security was visible everywhere throughout Paris -- particularly at landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de triomphe.

Earlier, during a speech at a joint session of both houses of the French Parliament, Hollande said he would submit a bill to amend the French constitution to give the nation greater authorization to eradicate terrorism and extend the country's state of emergency for three months.

He also called for an additional 5,000 extra police positions in the next two years and the expedition of the deportation of foreigners who pose a "grave threat to the security of the nation."

"The terrorists have realized that big western cities are very vulnerable," terror expert Mathieu Guidere told CBS News. "We were protected by the perception of our security, and this perception has failed with the Paris case now. So all the cities in the world, all the main capitals in the world are now really vulnerable."


The deadliest target Friday was Paris' the Bataclan concert hall, where gunmen shot and killed more than 115 concert-goers one by one during a performance by American rock band Eagles of Death Metal, who escaped unharmed.

Other targeted locations in Friday's attacks:

Stade de France -- At the national soccer stadium where France and Germany were playing an exhibition match, attackers bombed two stadium entrances and a nearby McDonald's restaurant. At least three died. Hollande, who was watching the game, was evacuated from the stadium after the blasts.

La Belle Equipe -- Up to 18 people died at this sidewalk cafe on Rue de Charonne.

Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge -- About 14 people died at Le Carillon, a bar, and the nearby Cambodian restaurant Le Petit Cambodge. Many others were gravely wounded.

La Casa Nostra -- Located a few hundred yards from the Bataclan, the terrace of this pizzeria was targeted. At least five people were targeted by attackers with automatic rifles.

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