The Latest: 10,000 participate in Toulouse peace march
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The Latest: 10,000 participate in Toulouse peace march
Nov. 21, 2015
BRUSSELS (AP) — The latest on the deadly attacks in Paris. (All times local):
Regional authorities say some 10,000 people have marched in the southwestern French city of Toulouse in a rally "for civil rights and peace."
The largely silent event Saturday was held to commemorate the victims of last week's attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
Participants held banners condemning the "barbarism" of the attacks and warning against holding all Muslims responsible for the actions of a handful of extremists.
Hundreds of Muslims living in Italy have demonstrated in Rome and Milan against the "abuse" of Islam by those who carried out the attacks in Paris and Mali.
In Rome, hundreds gathered at the central Piazza Santi Apostoli chanting "no to terrorism" and holding banners reading "Not in My Name." In Milan about 500 demonstrated in Piazza San Babila with banners reading "Stop Terrorism" and "Terrorism has No Religion."
Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, vice president of the Islamic Religious Community of Italy, said in Rome that the demonstrators wanted to show a message of unity "of the healthy and predominant part of Islam in Italy" and distance themselves "clearly and vocally, from any abuse of our religion by criminals."
The number of Muslims in predominantly Roman Catholic Italy is estimated at 1.7 million.
Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur has recommended that cafes, bars and discos in the city's heart close by 6 p.m. after officials raised the threat alert for the Belgian capital to its highest level.
Yet there was no binding order to do so, and some establishments remained open, dispensing beer, Belgian fare like mussels and French fries and good cheer on a cold and clear fall evening.
As tourists snapped selfies on the cobbled central square, the Grand Place, an army truck full of soldiers drove next to a brightly lit Christmas tree. William Bridell, an American resident of Brussels, said there was a noticeable difference this Saturday night.
Reassured by the highly visible security presence, he was on his way to watch a soccer game, but said most Belgians were staying in.
Staff members at some establishments weren't happy about having to shut on one of the busiest nights of the week, but waitress Lourdes Taipe said it was probably for the best.
She said: "It's very bad for the company because we're losing money but we have to do it for the security of the customers."
A group of about 75 bikers has paid its respects to the victims of last week's deadly attacks in Paris.
Members of the Federation of Bikers of France wore black ribbons around their arms and flew French flags as they drove through the French capital and stopped in front of the Bataclan concert hall, where three of their own were killed Nov. 13. They observed a minute of silence and left.
A total of 130 people lost their lives in the attacks on the concert hall, cafes and restaurants and a stadium, and hundreds more were wounded.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Eleven doves of peace have been released and a minute's silence has been observed ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's first match since the attacks that killed 130 people last week.
Fans waved French tricolor flags and then joined players, match officials and coaching staff in a searing rendition of the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise," before Lorient's home match against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.
One banner inside Le Moustoir stadium featured a giant Eiffel Tower, while another read: "La France Souffre Mais Ne Meurt Pas" — "France Is Suffering But Not Dying."
Security measures were stepped up in wake of last week's attacks, which began with explosions outside Stade de France — where France was playing Germany — and carried on with shootings elsewhere in the city.
Both adults and children were stringently searched entering the stadium, although the atmosphere seemed to be one of calm and cooperation.
There were no away fans at any games this weekend, so as not to stretch France's overworked police forces any further.
The U.S. European Command has issued a 72-hour travel restriction on travel to Brussels by all U.S. military personnel as well as civilian Pentagon employees, contractors and command-sponsored family members and dependents.
The command said in a notice posted on its website Saturday that "for those already in Brussels, everyone is to shelter in place and remain at home."
Brussels is home to the overall headquarters of the U.S.-led NATO alliance. NATO's military headquarters, officially known as Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), is located about 70 kilometers (45 miles) to the south, at Casteau near Mons.
The statement came after Belgian officials raised the threat alert for Brussels to its highest level.
The U.S. European Command issued similar travel restrictions for France shortly after last week's attacks in Paris.
The lawyer of a man who rode back to Belgium with Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam has said in a broadcast interview that Abdeslam was extremely nervous and may have been wearing a suicide bomb vest.
Abdeslam, 26, a Brussels native, is now the target of an international manhunt. His older brother Brahim was one of the Nov. 13 Paris suicide bombers.
Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure said Attorney Carine Couquelet told a French TV news channel that Abdeslam "may have been ready to blow himself up" on the trip back from France, according to her client. He was wearing "a big jacket, maybe a bomb belt," she quoted her client as saying.
She represents Hazma Attou, 21, who is being held by Belgian authorities on charges of terrorist murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Attou and Mohammed Amri, 27, another suspected accomplice also detained in Belgium, drove to Paris early in the morning of Nov. 14, picked up Abdeslam and brought him to Brussels.
The Associated Press couldn't immediately reach Couquelet for further comments Saturday.
The U.S. Embassy in Belgium has urged Americans in the country "to shelter in place and remain at home" after local authorities warned the threat of a terrorist attack in the Brussels area is serious and imminent.
In a statement on its website Saturday, the embassy said "if you must go out, avoid large crowds." It said it would provide updated information as it becomes available.
Brussels is home to the headquarters of the U.S.-led NATO alliance and the offices of many American and foreign companies.
The American mission urged U.S. citizens to "exercise caution in public transportation systems, sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations."
Belgium's government crisis center earlier Saturday raised the terrorism alert to its highest level, saying the threat of an attack is "serious and imminent."
The Paris prosecutor's office says authorities have released seven people detained during a deadly police raid linked to the Paris attacks.
Prosecutor's spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre says the eighth person detained during Wednesday's operation in an apartment in Saint-Denis remains in custody.
Suspect Jawad Bendaoud can be kept in custody up to six days in total under French anti-terrorism laws, before he must be charged or released.
Bendaoud said in televised remarks during the raid that he let people stay in the apartment as a favor and "didn't know they were terrorists." Among those targeted in the police operation was the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in the raid.
Paris police have extended a ban on demonstrations and other gatherings in the region through Nov. 30, with the city and country still on high alert after deadly attacks.
The French capital's police department issued a statement Saturday saying the ban is being extended because of "the current context," including a nationwide state of emergency that's been extended for three months.
The department notes extra security concerns around the arrival of more than 100 heads of state for the U.N. climate conference that starts in a week. A march by environmental groups scheduled for Nov. 29 has been canceled.
Police are requiring all major concert venues to install special security measures.
A senior government official says Turkish authorities have detained a Belgian national of Moroccan origin who is believed to have been in contact with the Paris attackers.
The official said Saturday 26-year-old Ahmad Dahmani was detained in a luxury hotel in Antalya along with two other suspects. He said the three — suspected Islamic State militants — remained in custody following a court appearance.
The official says in an emailed message: "We believe that Dahmani was in contact with the terrorists who perpetrated the Paris attacks. The investigation continues."
Dahmani had arrived in Turkey from Amsterdam on Nov. 14, the official said. The three were preparing to cross the Turkish-Syrian border.
The official cannot be named because of Turkish government rules that bar officials from speaking to reporters without prior authorization.
—By Suzan Fraser
Russia's interior minister says he will send a German shepherd puppy to the French police to honor a police dog killed in action and express solidarity with France in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
France's National Police say a 7-year-old Belgian shepherd named Diesel was "killed by terrorists" on Wednesday during a raid in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.
Gen. Vladimir Kolokoltsevs said in a statement late on Friday that along with his condolences over the deadly attacks he will send to his French counterpart a puppy so that it "could replace Diesel."
Kolokoltsev said the puppy was named Dobrynya after a Russian fairy-tale knight who "symbolizes strength, goodness, valor and unconditional support."
The Belgian Federal Prosecutor's office says several weapons were discovered during the search of the home of one of three people arrested in Belgium in connection with the Paris attacks.
In a written statement released Saturday, the office said no explosives or suicide bomb belt had been found. It said additional details would not be made public.
British Prime Minister David Cameron plans to travel to Paris Monday morning for crisis talks with French President Francois Hollande.
Cameron's office said Saturday the two leaders will discuss how to cooperate in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
The British prime minister is expected to seek parliamentary approval for Britain to join in the air campaign against IS positions in Syria.
The United Nations vote calling for a coordinated fight against the extremists is likely to bolster Cameron's case for air strikes.
Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel says the decision to raise the terror alert level in the Brussels region was taken "based on quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris."
Speaking at a news conference Saturday, he said the fear was that "several individuals with arms and explosives could launch an attack ... perhaps even in several places."
Michel added, "We urge the public not to give in to panic, to stay calm. We have taken the measures that are necessary."
Belgium's interior minister says the country's situation is "serious" but under control with the nation at its highest state of alert.
Jan Jambon told reporters as he arrived for a special security Cabinet meeting Saturday that "the situation is serious. Otherwise we would not go to Level 4, but the situation is under control."
Elsewhere in Brussels, life seemed to go on much as usual, with plenty of vehicular traffic in the streets. The Pro League, the federation of Belgium's top soccer clubs, said it would play this weekend's games as scheduled despite a recommendation from the government that they be canceled.
Service has been halted on the Brussels subway system and heavily armed police and soldiers are patrolling the Belgian capital amid a high security alert.
Belgium's government crisis center has raised the terrorism alert to its highest level, amid concerns that at least one suspect in the Paris attacks may be at large in Belgium. It called the threat of a terrorist act "serious and imminent."
In a public message, the crisis center advised the population of the Brussels region to avoid areas where large numbers of people gather, including concerts, major events, train stations and airports, public transit and commercial districts.
The government also recommended the cancellation of professional soccer games scheduled over the weekend, and that the 19 communes that make up the Brussels region consider canceling all other major events due to take place.
Turkey's state-run news agency says authorities have detained three suspected Islamic State militants, including a 26-year-old Belgian of Moroccan descent.
The Anadolu Agency said early Saturday that the two Syrians and the Belgian national — identified as Ahmet D. — were detained near the Turkish coastal city of Antalya. It says they were detained on suspicion of "aiding and abetting" the Islamic State group.
The private Dogan news agency identified the Belgian as Ahmet Dahmani and said he is suspected of having explored areas in Paris that were attacked last week.
The agency says he was detained in a police raid at his hotel.
Officials could not immediately be reached for confirmation.
Belgium's national Crisis Center has raised its terrorism alert to its highest level in the Brussels region.
The Crisis Center announced on its website it had raised the threat level to Level 4, which indicates a "serious and immediate threat."
The Belgian capital was home to the suspected organizer of the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. It also is the seat of the Belgian federal government and the headquarters of two major international institutions, the European Union and NATO.