PARIS – Authorities in France and Belgium took people into custody Saturday in the aftermath of the worst violence in France since World War II, a series of terror attacks that killed more than 120 people.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the horrific Paris attacks, for which France vowed revenge.
President Francois Hollande deemed the shootings and bombings “an act of war.” He said early Saturday, “We will lead the fight, and we will be ruthless.”
French President vows ‘ruthless’ response
Belgian authorities made a number of arrests there in the first publicized apprehensions after Friday night’s bloodshed, a Belgian Justice Ministry spokeswoman said Saturday.
In Belgium, raids were conducted in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Sieghild Lacoere said. A car rented in Brussels was found near one of the sites of the Paris attacks, and “that’s what triggered the raids,” Lacoere said.
In all, the raids took place in three homes in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, a Western intelligence source told CNN.
Police conduct raids in Belgium
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.
Also Saturday, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported that the father and a brother of one of the attackers had been taken into custody. And AFP reported that the two men were detained after police raided their homes 130 kilometers (81 miles) east of Paris. CNN has not independently verified that the men were picked up by authorities.
One of the suicide bombers in Friday’s attacks has been identified as Ismael Omar Mostefai, according to a French member of Parliament. Mostefai lived in Chartres at least until 2012, said Jean-Pierre Gorges, who is mayor of the French town as well as a member of Parliament, via Facebook.
Man stopped at border
A man who rented a VW Polo used by terrorists at the Bataclan concert venue was intercepted at the border with Belgium, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said. The man, who was driving a different vehicle when he was caught, is a French national living in Belgium and was accompanied by two other people, Molins said.
One of the terrorists who died in Paris was identified as a 30-year-old French national from Courcouronnes in the city’s southern suburbs, Molins said Saturday.
That individual was involved in the attack on a concert hall, had a criminal history and was identified as having been radicalized in 2010, but that person had never been accused of terrorism, Molins said.
Molins said the attacker was identified by fingerprints.
French woman, British merch seller among attack victims
In the nearly simultaneous 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.
In addition to the 129 people killed in Paris, 352 were injured, at least 99 seriously, Molins said Saturday. Seven terrorists were killed, French officials have said. They all had assault rifles, Molins added.
At least one American is among the 129 dead, officials said. The U.S. victim was Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, of El Monte, California, a junior studying design in Paris for a semester while enrolled at California State University, Long Beach, the school said.
Three Chileans also were killed, as were two people from Belgium, two from Mexico, two from Spain, one from Portugal, one from the United Kingdom and many French citizens. Other nations whose citizens were killed had yet to identify those victims.
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.
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.
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. – CNN