Paris cleans up bullet holes and bloodstains from attacks as jets destroy key ISIL locations in Syria

As the bells of Notre Dame cathedral echoed over central Paris Sunday in memory of the victims of Friday night’s terror attacks, French jets were already fuelling up for a strike on the ISIL stronghold of Raqqa.

“The first target destroyed was used by [ISIL] as a command post, jihadist recruitment centre and arms and munitions depot. The second held a terrorist training camp,” read a Sunday night statement by the French ministry of defence.

As the French capital cleaned up the bullet holes and bloodstains of an assault for the second time this year, President François Hollande promised “merciless” revenge as the still-edgy city echoed with talk of war.

As of Sunday night, the death toll for Friday’s attacks was at least 129, but with as many as 100 coping with critical injuries, the figure may rise in the coming days. The bulk of the victims died in Le Bataclan, a historic music venue that was hosting a sold-out show by the Eagles of Death Metal when three men with assault rifles began firing into the crowd.

According to an Iraqi intelligence briefing obtained by the Associated Press, the Paris attacks appear to have been planned in Raqqa, Syria, the de-facto capital of ISIS’s self-styled caliphate. French authorities have confirmed that three teams of ISIS-trained attackers carried out the coordinated assaults.

Of the seven attackers killed Friday night, only one, a French national, has been officially identified.

, 29, was known by authorities since 2010 to have held radical Islamist beliefs is believed to have traveled to Syria in the winter of 2013. “That is when we lost track of him,” said a French police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty ImagesCHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images

A petty criminal, Mostefai was picked up between 2004 and 2010 for eight minor offences, including driving without a licence. When Moustefai was 13 years old, his family received an eviction notice because of his criminal tendencies. “Ismael was kind of a trouble maker; he used to steal things, like mobile phones,” said Kamel Ousti, 53, a neighbour and family friend.

French police also issued a warrant for the arrest of , a 26-year-old man born in Belgium. The brother of one of the attack’s suicide bombers, Abdeslam is alleged to have helped with logistics and rented one of the cars used in the attack.

Friday’s victims included citizens of Chile, Belgium, Morocco, Tunisia, Romania and Italy, Great Britain and the United States. And given the terrorists’ choice of targets — restaurants and entertainment venues — many were under the age of 30.

(Police Nationale via AP)(Police Nationale via AP)

A video by concert attendee Seb Snow captures the exact moment the attack began at Le Bataclan. The band stops playing when interrupted by a burst of automatic gunfire. There is no screaming in the initial seconds as many in the darkened theatre suspected it was a pyrotechnic effect.

“It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre,” wrote one of the survivors in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.

“Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue … I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless.”

Julien Pearce is a Europe 1 reporter who hid in a small room at the outset of the attack, and sprinted for the exit as the attackers reloaded. “They seemed very young, that’s what struck me; juvenile faces, extremely determined, cold, calm, scary,” he said of witnessing the attackers.

Pierce was among dozens of people who survived Friday night purely by chance.

One man was on his mobile phone when a large piece of debris slammed into his head from one of three suicide bombs detonated outside Paris’ Stade de . The phone took the brunt of the impact. Otherwise, he told news cameras, “my head would be in pieces.”

Found near the body of a suicide bomber was what appeared to be a passport for a 25-year-old named Ahmad al-Mohammad from Idlib, Syria. It had allegedly been used by a migrant who passed through the Greek island of Leros on Oct. 3 and Presevo, Serbia, on Oct. 7, although it was later dismissed by authorities as a fake.

The discovery nonetheless raised concerns among Europeans that terrorists may have slipped onto the continent hidden among the summer’s tide of Syrian refugees flooding in with minimal screening.

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On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against blaming Europe’s refugees for the attacks and called for a swift investigation to find out “who the perpetrators were, who’s behind them and what connections there were.”

“We owe it to all the innocent refugees who are fleeing from war and terrorism” to find out the truth, she told reporters at the G20 summit in Turkey.

The sentiment was echoed by Yiannis Mouzalas, minister for immigration in Greece, which is bearing the brunt of refugee arrivals.

“This attack shouldn’t be attributed to refugees. Most of them were people born and raised in Western countries,” he told Greek media.

National Post, with files from news services
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