As French and Russian air strikes pounded Islamic State (IS) group targets in Raqqa, Syria, President Vladimir Putin Tuesday ordered the Russian navy in the Mediterranean to work “as allies” with its French counterparts against IS.
“It’s necessary to establish direct contact with the French and work with them as allies,” Putin told the military top brass at a meeting after French President François Hollande said the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle would be deployed to the eastern Mediterranean.
The news came after the Kremlin announced that Putin and Hollande had agreed to step up cooperation between their military and intelligence services in Syria, following the attacks in Paris and bombing of a Russian plane.
“It has been agreed to assure closer contact and coordination between the military and security service agencies of the two countries in actions against terrorist groups by Russia and France in Syria,” the Kremlin said in a statement following a phone call between Putin and Hollande.
Russia has deployed its fleet of strategic bombers to double the volume of air strikes on Islamist targets in Syria.
Hollande is to travel to Washington to meet Barack Obama on November 24 and then on to Moscow to meet Vladimir Putin on November 26, to discuss international cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State group.
Car rented by terror suspect found
France mobilized 115,000 security personnel and conducted 128 more raids for suspects involved in Friday’s Paris attacks.
Police on Tuesday found a third car linked to the Paris terror attacks as it emerged Salah Abdelslam, an official suspect wanted in connection with the attacks, hired out a hotel room the night before his alleged assault on Paris.
The car – a black Renault Clio – was found in the Rue Duhesme in the 18th arrondissement of the city. It is believed to have had a Belgian number plate.
Following the discovery of the car, which was in the process of being removed from the scene, police carried out a search at a computer shop in the vicinity.
As police around Europe continue to hunt for Abdelslam, it has emerged that he rented out a hotel room along with another individual before the attacks.
The room was rented out at a hotel in Alfortville, a suburb to the south west of Paris.
According to Le Point news site, numerous syringes and needles were fond in the room. It is not clear whether they were used to make bomb vests or whether the attackers were taking drugs.
French police and their counterparts from Belgium continue to hunt for Abdelslam, who is believed to have been the “eighth attacker” involved in the worst terror attack committed on French soil.
Abdelslam is believed to have taken part in the shootings on the terraces of the bar Le Carillon, the nearby restaurant Casa Nostro and the Belle Equipe, where 19 died.
An international arrest warrant and appeal for information was issued for Salah Abdeslam Sunday, with police warning that he was dangerous and probably armed.
Although RTL reported his arrest Monday, it proved to be wrong.
Police had him in their grasp early Saturday, when they stopped a car carrying three men near the Belgian border. By then, hours had passed since authorities identified Abdeslam as the person who rented a Volkswagen Polo that carried hostage takers to the Paris concert hall where scores were murdered.
Three French police officials and a top French security official confirmed that officers let Abdeslam go after checking his ID. They spoke on condition of anonymity, lacking authorisation to publicly disclose such details.
Seven arrested in Germany
Police in the western German city of Aachen arrested seven people, at least three of them foreign citizens, on Tuesday in an operation linked to the militant attacks last week in Paris that killed 129 people.
A special police unit overpowered two women and one man outside a job center in Alsdorf, a small town near Aachen close to Germany’s border with Belgium and the Netherlands.
“After the terror attacks last Friday in Paris and the search for the perpetrators and the people pulling the strings, police in Aachen got a lead to suspicious individuals in Alsdorf,” a police statement said.
A spokesman said the three were foreign citizens but declined to elaborate on their identity pending investigations.
Later on Tuesday, police arrested two more people in Alsdorf, the statement said, giving no details. A few hours later, two more suspects were arrested in Alsdorf, bringing the total number of arrests to seven.