British newspapers are critical of police blunders which let one of the suspect escaping the net. The Times said terror suspect Salah Abdeslam, the “world’s most wanted” man . While police have identified four of the seven dead extremists, they believe “he was the ‘eighth man’ spotted in action at the multiple assaults at the Stade de France and around a popular night district on the Right Bank”, it says.
According to the Sun, he’s one of three “blood brothers” who were “at the heart of an eight-man Belgium-based IS terror cell” suspected of killing 129 people on Friday evening. However, the Daily Telegraph repeats suggestions from security sources quoted by Belgian paper L’Echo that up to 20 extremists may have been involved “near or far”.
An editorial “Paris attacks: It’s war, but not as we know it” in the Independent said on Monday that “course of inaction is no longer possible”.
“The danger of a Mumbai-style marauding terror attack in Britain has been understood by the security services ever since those dark days in India in 2008. Now, after Paris, we know what such an attack looks like. That’s the sort of war we are in. We won’t get out of it without a concerted effort,” it said.
The Independent said “there is only the naked dread that comes from knowing that the attacks can come at any time, from any direction, and that…these killers want and expect to die in the process, to become ‘martyrs’.”
“With the possible exception of chemical or biological attacks, it is hard to conceive of anything more frightening.”
The daily said the fact that “this is war, in which we are all equally at risk, changes the response”.
“Today, standing together is a simple necessity. Let the lesson sink in: we are up to our necks in a brutal conflict with an enemy of great strategic strengths, with abundant funding, a large home territory, thousands of troops…”
When horrible attacks occur, the temptation to resort to language inflation is strong, said the daily and added that in January, the Charlie Hebdo attack was described by some as “an act of war”.
“That was hyperbole: the massacre at the satirical magazine’s offices in Paris was a closely targeted assault on an ideological enemy of the Islamists.”
President François Hollande used the phrase “an act of war” on November 13, “but this time he was right”.
“Random but closely co-ordinated, the attacks were precisely an act of war, the closest that terrorists can approximate to the carpet bombing of enemy cities carried out in the Second World War,” said the daily.
The daily noted that France has been disproportionately targeted, for reasons which are still being debated, but all countries which have been involved in fighting this enemy are at risk of similar attempts at retribution. “A co-ordinated and determined international response is now imperative.”