PARIS, Nov 17 - French police launched dozens of fresh raids across the country today as warplanes strafed the Syrian stronghold of Islamic State jihadists which France has vowed to destroy after their attack on Paris.
Authorities in France and Belgium stepped up the hunt for more gunmen and possible accomplices to the shootings and suicide bombings on bars, restaurants and a sports stadium that killed 129 mostly young people on Friday night. US Secretary of State John Kerry described those behind the massacre as �psychopathic monsters�.
�This is not a clash of civilisations. These terrorists have declared war against all civilisation,� said Kerry yesterday as he arrived in the scarred French capital to meet President Francois Hollande to pledge Washington�s solidarity with Paris.
Police are on the trail of 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, one of three brothers believed involved, and investigators believe Belgian jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is based in Syria, was the mastermind of the attacks.
�We don�t know if there are accomplices in Belgium and in France...We still don�t know the number of people involved in the attacks,� Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on France Inter radio. French police carried out 128 raids targeting extremist networks across the country this morning, a day after a similar sweep found �an arsenal of weapons� in the southeastern city of Lyon, according to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.
He said more than 100 people had been placed under house arrest and 23 arrested.
Meanwhile French warplanes destroyed a command centre and training centre in the Syrian city of Raqa, the stronghold of IS, in its second series of airstrikes in 24 hours, the defence ministry said. Hollande has vowed to hit back at IS �without mercy� after the attacks which stunned the nation less than a year after a three-day attack which left 17 dead, including on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket.
Friday�s �acts of war... Were decided and planned in Syria, prepared and organised in Belgium (and) perpetrated on our soil with French complicity,� Hollande told an extraordinary meeting of both houses of parliament in Versailles.
�The need to destroy Daesh (IS)...Concerns the entire international community,� he told lawmakers, who burst into an emotional rendition of the Marseillaise national anthem after his speech. � AFP