French Police: 6 Terrorists May Still be at Large.
As many as six members of a terrorist cell involved in the Paris attacks may still be at large, including a man who was seen driving a car registered to the widow of one of the slain gunmen, police officials said on Monday, according to The Associated Press.
Two French police officials said that authorities were searching the Paris area for the Mini Cooper registered to Hayat Boumeddiene, the widow of Amedy Coulibaly, who is now believed to be in Syria. The French police officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss details of the investigation with the media.
Francedeployed 10,000 troops to protect sensitive sites, including Jewish schools and neighborhoods, in the wake of the attacks that killed 17 people last week. Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, as well as Coulibaly, their friend who claimed ties to Islamic extremists in the Middle East, died Friday in clashes with police.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the manhunt is urgent because "the threat is still present" after the attacks that began Wednesday with 12 people killed at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. A policewoman was killed on Thursday, and four people were slain at a kosher supermarket Friday before the gunmen were killed by police in two nearly simultaneous clashes with security forces around Paris.
Video emerged on Sunday of Coulibaly explaining how the attacks in Paris would unfold. French police want to find the person or persons who shot and posted the video, which was edited after Friday's attacks, according to AP.
Boumeddiene was seen traveling through Turkey with a male companion before reportedly arriving in Syria with him on January 8, the day after the Charlie Hebdo attack and the same day Coulibaly began his murderous spree by killing the policewoman.
And as criticism mounts over the United States' meager presence in France this past weekend, the White House admitted Monday that it had erred in not sending a higher-level representative to the mega rally in Paris against Islamic terrorism on Sunday. "We should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there," Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
But, he noted, planning for the rally began on short notice and that the personal attendance of President Barack Obama, given the security challenges, would have had too much of a "significant impact" on the march. Claiming they only had 36 hours to prepare, Earnest suggested the large-scale outdoor event posed security risks. However, he added that the US stands "four-square behind our allies in France."
While the administration dispatched Attorney General Eric Holder and a top homeland security official to Paris for meetings over the weekend, Ambassador Jane Hartley was the only US official of note on hand at the rally. The White House gave no reason for why Holder did not attend the rally, saying only that he or some other top official should have been present. A spokesman for the US Embassy in Paris claimed Holder did not attend the march because he was "not available at the time."
In a related story, a BBC news correspondent has apologized for his "poorly phrased question" during an interview Sunday night at the Paris "million-man march" against terror - comments which were slammed as anti-Semitic by Jewish rights groups.
Tim Willcox was interviewing a French woman and daughter of Holocaust survivors, who related fears held by many French Jews that anti-Semitism was reaching levels last witnessed in the 1930s, at which point he inexplicably chose to interrupt her by stating that "many critics though of Israel's policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well."
When his interviewee attempted to respond he appeared to attempt to minimize the crisis felt by French Jews by asking: "you understand everything is seen from different perspectives?" But reactions to his apology have been largely negative, with many suggesting he should make a public, on-air apology.
On Monday, Willcox took to Twitter to issue a public apology, saying he was "Really sorry for any offense caused by a poorly phrased question in a live interview in Paris yesterday - it was entirely unintentional."