French president commemorates Charlie Hebdo, terror attack victims
PARIS – French President Francois Hollande and other dignitaries held a special ceremony Sunday to honour all those killed in Islamic extremist violence around Paris in 2015 – a year when the European way of life was targeted time and again with deadly consequences.
At least one attacker is at large, and France’s top security official acknowledged Sunday that authorities don’t know his whereabouts. The country is under a state of emergency after attacks Nov. 13, and a police station was attacked Thursday by a man whose background is still unclear.
Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo unveiled a plaque Sunday in memory of victims targeted at newspaper Charlie Hebdo, a kosher market, a rock concert, cafes, a stadium and elsewhere.
The ceremony took place at Place de la Republique, a plaza that has become a symbol of Parisians’ solidarity since the attacks, which began Jan. 7, 2015.
French rocker and national icon Johnny Hallyday joined the army choir in a special, sombre musical performance.
The violence left some 150 victims dead, and several attackers were also killed.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for national unity and insisted the government is doing all it can to protect France.
Many questions remain about the Nov. 13 attacks, including how many people were involved and may still be at large.
Cazeneuve said on i-Tele television Sunday that “We don’t know where Salah Abdeslam is,” referring to a fugitive gunman. Abdeslam crossed into Belgium Nov. 14 and Belgian authorities believe he hid out in a Brussels area apartment used to make bombs for the Paris attacks before moving on.
© 2016 The Associated Press