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Paris Attacks Live Updates: French Authorities Identify Key Players

People gather to hold a minute of silence in front of the Paris city Hall, France, on Monday.
Image credit: Christophe Petit Tesson

French authorities have zeroed in on two men they believe were responsible for planning and ordering the terrorist attacks in Paris that left dozens dead.

Citing two sources close to the investigation in Paris, NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston reports that officials believe Salim Benghalem, a French national, orchestrated the attacks, while Abdelhamid Abaaoud ordered them. The two men are believed to be in Syria.

Using automatic weapons and explosive devices on Friday, three well-organized teams of assailants targeted six sites across Paris, including the national stadium, a crowded concert hall and several restaurants. The Islamic State took responsibility for the attack and French President François Hollande called it an “act of war.”

This morning, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that the country has since conducted 168 raids, detaining 23 suspects and putting more than 100 under house arrest.

“It’s just a start,” Cazeneuve said. “These operations are going to continue. The response of the Republic will be huge, will be total.”

Paris prosecutor François Molins said that five out of seven of the dead terrorists have been identified, but police are still on the hunt for an eighth suspect named as as 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam.

We’ll update this post throughout the day, so make sure to refresh the page for the latest.

Update at 8:04 a.m. ET. A Moment Of Silence:

Earlier this morning, France observed a minute of silence to honor the victims of one of the country’s deadliest terrorism attacks.

French President François Hollande and his cabinet observed the moment at Sorbonne University in Paris. It ended with the crowd gathered there singing La Marseillaise, the French national anthem.

Here is video of that moment via CNBC:

Update at 7:27 a.m. ET. An Operation In Belgium:

Reporting from Belgium, NPR’s Peter Kenyon says that there is a big police operation happening in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels.

It’s unclear what is happening, but it appears that police are closing in on the eighth suspect.

The public broadcaster in Belgium, RTBF, reported that one person has been arrested.

Update at 6:54 a.m. ET. What’s Coming Up This Morning:

Two big things to look forward to this morning: French President François Hollande will speak to a joint session of Parliament at 10 a.m. ET. President Obama will have a press conference at 10:30 a.m. ET. He’ll be speaking from Turkey, where he has been at a meeting of the G20. We’ll, of course, blog that but we’ll also make sure to post a live stream.

Update at 6:40 a.m. ET. Names Of The Dead Attackers:

So far, authorities have named five of the seven men who perpetrated attacks across Paris. They are:

— Ismael Omar Mostefai, 29, who attacked music fans at the Bataclan and then blew himself up using a suicide vest.

— Samy Amimour, 28, was another of the suicide bombers at the music venue.

— Ahmad Al Mohammad, 25, died after detonating a suicide bomb outside the soccer stadium. His name was on a Syrian passport found alongside his body.

The Paris prosecutor Molins said in a statement that while the authenticity of the passport has been questioned, a man with Mohammad’s fingerprints match those of a man who used the same passport to enter Greece in October.

Molins said that passport check in Greece is part of a requirement that all asylum seekers register at their first point of entry in the European Union.

— Bilal Hadfi, 20, a French national and one of the other suicide bombers outside the stadium.

— Brahim Abdeslam, 31, died when he denotated a suicide vest on Boulevard Voltaire. A French national living in Belgium, he is the brother of fugitive suspect Salah Abdeslam.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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