Hollande, Merkel lay flowers at vigil for Paris attack victims

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French President Francois Hollande is joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in laying flowers at Place de la Republique. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

Hollande, Merkel lay flowers at vigil for Paris attack victims


STORY: French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid their respects to the victims of the Paris attacks on Wednesday (November 25) as both leaders lay flowers at Place de la Republique, which has become a hub for mourning in the aftermath of the attacks in which 130 were killed and 400 were wounded.

An investigation into the November 13 attacks widened on Tuesday (November 24) when French prosecutors said a man who provided lodging to the suspected ringleader must have known of a militant plot, and Belgium issued a warrant for a new suspect.

Painting a chilling picture of ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Paris prosecutor said after dropping off the gunmen and suicide bombers at the cafes and bars where the attacks were to take place, he later returned to the scene while the killing spree was in full swing.

The coordinated attacks prompted France to declare a national state of emergency and to step up air strikes in Syria on Islamic State, the militant group that has claimed responsibility.

Hollande, seeking to rally global support for the military campaign against Islamic State, met with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday where they agreed to scale up operations against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad, which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris.

Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up to 1 million migrants this year and that Europe must accept quotas to take them in.

Just hours before heading to Paris to meet Hollande, she said Germany would show solidarity with France after the attacks.

Germany, which has since World War Two been reluctant to join military missions abroad, said earlier it is sending 650 soldiers to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali and increasing the number of troops training Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq.

Tags : victims, attack, paris, vigil, flowers, Merkel, Hollande

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