One of the terrorists in the concert hall attack in Paris was identified as a 30-year-old French national from Courcouronnes, in Paris’ southern suburbs, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Saturday. The individual had a criminal history, and was identified as having been radicalized in 2010 but had never been accused of terrorism, Molins said.
An American woman is among at least 129 people killed in the terrorists attacks in Paris, three U.S. officials said. That news is among the first snippets of information about the background of people who lost their lives in Friday’s attacks. Earlier, the Belgian Foreign Ministry said at least two Belgians were among the dead.
With ISIS claiming responsibility for the Paris attacks, the investigation moved beyond France as Belgian authorities made a number of arrests there in the first publicized apprehensions following Friday night’s violence, a Belgian justice ministry spokeswoman told CNN on Saturday.
The raids were conducted in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, a Brussels suburb, justice ministry spokeswoman Sieghild Lacoere said.
Lacoere told CNN that a car rented in Brussels was found near one of the sites of the attacks in France and “that’s what triggered the raids.”
The raids took place in three homes in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, a Western intelligence source told CNN.
At least one of the raids is connected to the Paris attacks, according to the source, who is in contact with French and Belgian intelligence services. The other raids are connected to individuals known to Belgium intelligence, the source said. Some of the Paris attackers are also known to Belgium intelligence, the source added.
The raids came after France saw its worst violence since World War II, which the French President deemed “an act of war.”
In the nearly simultaneous Paris attacks on Friday night, the assailants targeted six sites, the deadliest being a massacre at a concert hall where at least 80 people were killed.
The number of people killed in the Paris attacks stands at 129, and 352 people other people were injured — at least 99 seriously, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Saturday.
The threat of ISIS is well-known, with the jihadist group’s atrocities in Syria and Iraq being met with condemnation and airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition that includes France.
But the scale and apparent coordination of Friday’s attacks inside the European Union, which comes on the heels of ISIS’ claim of taking down a Russian airliner in Egypt, represent an escalation of capabilities if confirmed.
In an online statement distributed by supporters Saturday, ISIS said eight militants wearing explosive belts and armed with machine guns attacked precisely selected areas in the French capital.
A Syrian passport was found near the body of an attacker outside one of the targeted sites, the Stade de France, according to a police source, CNN affiliate France 2 and other French media reported.
A source close to the investigation told CNN that an Egyptian passport was found on another attacker. “There is strong assumption that these passports are fake,” the source said.
In addition to those killed, 180 others were injured, according to the Paris Police Prefecture. More than half of them are in critical condition.
Americans are among the injured, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said Saturday.
At least two Americans were injured and the number is expected to go up, a U.S. official told CNN.
President Francois Hollande blamed the attacks on ISIS, calling it “an act of war” by the militants. He said it was planned from the outside — “with inside complicity.”
“When the terrorists are capable of doing such acts, they must know that they will face a France very determined,” he said.
Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng
Copyright 2015 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.