PARIS — The French capital remained on edge Sunday as a day of remembrance and mourning began, two days after 129 people were killed and more than 350 injured in terror attacks, USA Today reports.
A French judicial official said the father of suicide bomber Ismael Mostefai — the only terrorist to be identified by authorities — Mostefai’s brother and other family members were detained and were being questioned Sunday, French media reported.
French publication Le Point named one of the bombers who detonated his explosive belt at the Stade de France, or National Stadium, as Egyptian-born Waled Abdelrazak S., aged 27.Three days of national mourning have been declared. At the Place de la Republique in central Paris, a steady stream of people laid flowers and candles to honor the victims. The city’s main attractions, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum were closed, and large murals featuring the hashtag #PrayForParis adorned some streets. Most services at the Grand Synagogue were canceled Sunday.
Special church services are planned around France including at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday in honor of the dead. Several Kalashnikov rifles were found in an abandoned car believed to have been used by the attackers, Paris Match reported Sunday, citing police sources. The magazine said the black Seat vehicle was discovered in the Montreuil neighborhood in eastern Paris on Sunday, indicating that some attackers escaped.
Mostefai, 29, was identified after part of his finger was found at the Bataclan concert hall, where most of the victims were found, according to local media. Mostefai, who has Algerian roots, was born in the town of Courcouronnes, 15 miles south of Paris and had eight convictions for petty crimes between 2004 and 2010, but did not serve jail time, Le Monde reported.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Mostefai was on authorities’ radar for radicalization in 2010, but had not previously been implicated in a terrorism investigation. AFP said investigators are looking into whether he traveled to Syria last year, citing police sources. Jean-Pierre Gorges, the mayor of Chartres, a city about 60 miles southwest of Paris, said in a Facebook post that Mostefai lived there until at least 2012.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“The skies are darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris,” said President Obama on Sunday following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Antalya, Turkey, ahead of a summit of leaders of the world’s top 20 economies there. Describing the assaults as an “attack on the civilized world,” Obama said the U.S. stands in solidarity with the French in hunting down the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
Obama said he and Erdogan discussed fortifying the borders between Syria and Turkey, redoubling efforts to bring about a peaceful end to the four-year-civil war in Syria and eliminating the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
He said the U.S. stands with Turkey and Europe in reducing the flow of migrants. Hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees have entered Europe this year.
Some questioned Europe’s handling of the refugee crisis after a Syrian passport was found near a dead terrorist. Greece confirmed that the holder had crossed into that country through the the eastern Aegean island of Leros from the Middle East last month. The island is an entry point for refugees and migrants heading to northern Europe from countries including Syria.
Serbian police said in a statement that the passport’s holder entered the country on Oct. 7 from Macedonia, on the Balkans land route used by many migrants. Identifying the man only as A.A.,they said he formally requested asylum in Serbia, and is the same passport holder that Greek authorities said entered Leros.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour said one of the bombers who blew himself up at the Stade de France was issued with a Syrian emergency passport under the name Ahmad al-Mohammad after landing on Leros. She said the fingerprints on the passport matched the bomber’s, citing an unnamed French senator.
“The open door policy of having migrants come to Europe leaves the door wide open to attacks by terrorists,” said retiree Jack Parker, 65, a long-time British resident of Paris. “Any smart terrorist would have used the open door policy. Hundreds of terrorists have probably entered Europe in the last few months posing as Syrian refugees.”
Molins said the assaults on Friday were carried out by seven terrorists operating in three separate, highly coordinated teams. The first attack was at the Stade de France, at 9:20 p.m. when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside during a friendly soccer match between France and Germany. Other attacks happened at cafes and at the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people were killed during a performance by the California rock band Eagles of Death Metal.
At least one American — Nohemi Gonzalez, 20, a college student from California — was among the dead, according to California State University in Long Beach, where she went to school. Mark Toner, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, confirmed some Americans were also among the injured.