Suspected Belgian mastermind of Paris attacks sought in raid, sources say

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Gunfire in Paris

Heavy gunfire erupted in a north Paris suburb early on Wednesday as special police forces launched an operation to catch the alleged mastermind behind gun and bomb attacks in which 129 people were killed last week, police and judicial sources said.

Several suspected attackers and potential accomplices remained holed up in an apartment after the shoot-out, a police source said.

Belgian militant Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, initially thought to have pulled the strings in Friday night's attacks in the French capital from Syria, was believed to be one of those barricaded in an apartment in St Denis, said a judicial source.

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Suicide bomber detonates during French police raid in Paris, Saint-Denis
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Suspected Belgian mastermind of Paris attacks sought in raid, sources say
Forensics of the French police search for evidences outside a building in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, on November 18, 2015, where French Police special forces raided an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. French police said the assault had concluded on an apartment in northern Paris on Wednesday in which at least two jihadists were killed and seven arrested. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
A second body is removed from the apartment raided by French Police special forces earlier in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, on November 18, 2015, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. French police said the assault had concluded on an apartment in northern Paris in which at least two jihadists were killed and seven arrested. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Forensics of the French police search for evidences outside a building in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, on November 18, 2015, where French Police special forces raided an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. French police said the assault had concluded on an apartment in northern Paris on Wednesday in which at least two jihadists were killed and seven arrested. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Forensic experts examine the scene in Saint-Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Two men carry a stretcher with a body into a hearse after an intervention of security forces against a group of extremists in Saint-Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Hooded police officers detain a man in Saint-Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Hooded police officers detain a man in Saint-Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Police forces operate in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Police say two suspects in last week's Paris attacks, a man and a woman, have been killed in a police operation north of the capital. Two police officers have been injured in the standoff. Police have said the operation is targeting the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks, believed to be holed up in an apartment in Saint-Denis with several other heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Policemen and firefighters are pictured in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: French Police Forensics officers work on Rue des Corbillon in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis following a raid on an apartment on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: The damaged building that was raided earlier in the morning is pictured on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: The damaged building that was raided earlier in the morning is pictured on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: The damaged building that was raided earlier in the morning is pictured on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: Forensics of the French police are seen on 'Rue du Corbillon' in Saint-Denis, on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)
Inhabitants leave the security perimeter set in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents are evacuated in Saint Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's gun and bomb rampage was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
French police officers storm a church after a raid in Paris suburb Saint-Denis, Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A man is evacuated after being arrested by French policemen in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A man is evacuated after being arrested by French policemen in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A man is evacuated after being arrested by French policemen in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Policemen and firemen are pictured in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: Medical staff transfer people to local hospital from the site of this morning's police raid on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
Police forces operate in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Police say two suspects in last week's Paris attacks, a man and a woman, have been killed in a police operation north of the capital. Two police officers have been injured in the standoff. Police have said the operation is targeting the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks, believed to be holed up in an apartment in Saint-Denis with several other heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Members of the Raid, a special intervention unit of the French police are pictured in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
A French soldier stands guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
An armoured vehicle of a French police intervention unit arrives in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Policemen stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
Passerbies are gatherd in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Policemen take combat position in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Police forces prepare in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of St. Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Members of French police special forces stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer stands guard next to a French soldier in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
French policemenand soldiers stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
French army soldiers stand in position in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers operate in St. Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of St. Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French soldiers are carried in a truck to take combat position in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
French policemen stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of French police special forces in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents are evacuated by the police in Saint Denis, north of Paris, France, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police operation in Saint-Denis, near Paris on November 18, 2015, five days after Paris terror attacks. Shooting broke out in northern Paris early November 18, 2015 during a dawn raid by police hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago, sources said. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Police operation in Saint-Denis, near Paris on November 18, 2015, five days after the Paris terror attacks. Shooting broke out in northern Paris early November 18, 2015 during a dawn raid by police hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago, sources said. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Police forces prepare in St. Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of St. Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police officers take up positions in Saint Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police forces prepare in Saint Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Christoph Ena)
Police operation in Saint-Denis, near Paris on November 18, 2015, five days after Paris terror attacks. Shooting broke out in northern Paris early November 18, 2015 during a dawn raid by police hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago, sources said. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Police forces prepare in Saint Denis, a northern suburb ofParis, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Saint Denis, a northern suburb ofParis, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Saint Denis, a northern suburb ofParis, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 after reports of a shooting in the northern suburb of St. Denis.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 after reports of a shooting in the northern suburb of St. Denis.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 after reports of a shooting in the northern suburb of St. Denis.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 after reports of a shooting in the northern suburb of St. Denis.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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The Paris attacks, claimed by Islamic State militants, raised security concerns around the world, with an international soccer match called off in Germany on Tuesday and two Air France (AIRF.PA) flights from the United States diverted for several hours due to bomb threats.

In Syria, France and Russia bombed targets to punish Islamic State for the coordinated Paris massacre and the downing of a Russian airliner over Sinai on Oct. 31.

French TV stations BFMTV and iTele both showed amateur video of Wednesday's early morning shooting and cited witnesses in the area as saying they had heard sporadic gunfire from around 4:30 a.m. (10.30 p.m. ET).

"The operation is still under way. It's not over," local member of parliament Mathieu Hanotin said on France Inter radio. "Everyone must stay indoors. There are still gunmen holed up in the apartment."

BFMTV said some police had been wounded during the operation, which took place near the Stade de France sports stadium where three suicide bombers detonated their explosive belts and killed a passer-by on Friday.

French prosecutors have identified five of the seven dead assailants from Friday - four Frenchmen and a man who was fingerprinted in Greece among refugees last month.

But they now believe two men directly involved in the assault subsequently escaped.

Wednesday's operation came after a source with knowledge of the investigation said a cell phone had been found with a map of the music venue targeted in one of the attacks and a text message on it saying words to the effect of "let's go".

The source said the phone was found in a dustbin near the Bataclan concert hall where the bloodiest of the shootings took place.

Islamic State said it carried out the attacks in retaliation for French and Russian air raids in Iraq and Syria. Investigators said the Paris plot was hatched in Syria and nurtured in Belgium.

SECURITY ALERTS

Late on Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said two Paris-bound Air France flights were diverted following anonymous bomb threats, and hundreds of passengers and crew were safely removed.

Flight 65, an Airbus A-380 that had departed from Los Angeles, landed safely in Salt Lake City where passengers and crew were escorted into the terminal, an FAA spokesman said.

The FBI said in a statement that no evidence was found aboard the plane "which would lend credibility to the threats" against the flight.

A separate flight that left Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., Flight 55, was diverted to Halifax International Airport in Nova Scotia, Canada, where passengers and crew had also disembarked. The Halifax Airport tweeted that 262 passengers and crew members had been aboard.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Halifax said on its Twitter feed that police dogs searched the plane for evidence of explosives, but no details were disclosed.

In a brief statement, Air France said both flights had been the "subjects of anonymous threats received after their respective take-offs".

Flights to Paris from Asia operated as normal on Wednesday.

Earlier, bomb fears had prompted German police to call off a soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands in Hanover two hours before kick-off. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been due to attend.

No arrests were made and no explosives were found.

"We had received specific indications that an attack with explosives was planned," Hanover Police President Volker Kluwe told NDR state broadcaster. "We took them seriously, and that is why we took the measures."

France and Germany were playing a soccer friendly at the Stade de France when Friday's attacks took place.

AIR STRIKES IN SYRIA

Syrian targets hit by Russian long-range bombers and cruise missiles on Tuesday included the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. French warplanes also targeted Raqqa on Tuesday evening in the third such bombing raid within 48 hours.

Paris and Moscow are not coordinating their operations, but French President Francois Hollande has called for a global campaign against the radicals in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to hunt down those responsible and intensify air strikes against Islamists in Syria.

Hollande will visit Putin in Moscow on Nov. 26, two days after the French leader is due to meet U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington to push for a concerted drive against Islamic State, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Obama said in Manila on Wednesday he wanted Moscow to shift its focus from propping up Syria's government to fighting Islamic State and would discuss that with Putin.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Callus, David Brunnstrom, Matthias Blsamont, Marine Pennetier, Emmanuel Jarry, Marie-Louise Gumuchian, Jean-Baptiste Vey, Chine Labbé John Irish in Paris, Alastair Macdonald and Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels, and Matt Spetalnick in Manila, Victoria Cavaliere and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, Amran Abocar in Toronto and Dan Wallis in Denver; Writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Dean Yates and Mark Bendeich)


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