French president unveils plaque and tree in Place de la République in memory of people killed in January and November attacks

 Thousands have gathered in Paris as President François Hollande led a commemoration for the victims of terrorist attacks last year.

On Sunday, Hollande and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, unveiled a plaque and a memorial oak tree in Paris’s Place de la République in memory of those killed in a series of attacks that shook France. Seventeen people were killed in the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket massacres in January, and a further 130 died in the November attacks on bars, a rock concert and the national stadium.

At the low-key ceremony, veteran French rocker Johnny Hallyday performed a song in memory of last year’s vast street marches to mark the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The choice of Hallyday to perform came as a surprise because the high-earning “French Elvis”, who has chosen to be domiciled outside France, had been an endless target of satire and mockery by the magazine in recent years.

Johnny Hallyday performs.
Johnny Hallyday performs. Photograph: WITT/SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock

At the ceremony, Paulette Lecossois said: “France needs to stand together. The country is resolved to get back on its feet and continue life as before. But there is a clear fear that there could be more terrorist attacks. There’s a feeling that it’s not over yet.”

The ceremony took place as it emerged that police trying to establish the identity of a man shot dead outside a police station in Paris last week after brandishing a meat cleaver and wearing a fake explosives vest have searched a centre for asylum-seekers in Germany.

German investigators said they raided an apartment at a shelter for asylum-seekers in Recklinghausen, in the west of the country. In a statement, they said only that “no indications were found that other attacks had been planned”.

The man was shot dead by officers outside a police station in northern Paris after he ran at officers on the one-year anniversary of the gun massacre at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 people.

The man was carrying a piece of paper marked with the Islamic State flag and a claim of responsibility written in Arabic as well as a mobile phone with a German sim card.

The attempted attack on the police station in Paris came exactly one year, almost to the minute, after the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Police did not say whether or not the man, whose identity has not been confirmed, was ever registered as an asylum-seeker in Germany. But the French news agency AFP quoted a source close to the investigation who said he had sought asylum in Germany, although there was no indication of what year.

The man’s identity is still being established. His fingerprints are reported to match those of a homeless man convicted of theft in 2013 in the south of France, who at the time of his arrest gave his name as Sallah Ali and said he was Moroccan. But the suspect’s family have since come forward to say he is a Tunisian named Tarek Belgacem. French authorities have not confirmed any name.

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said on Sunday in an interview with Le Mondethat he could not confirm reports that the man was an asylum-seeker in Germany or lived in an asylum-seeker hostel there because he was “simply not sure whether that is correct”. He said what French authorities knew at present was “that he had stayed in various EU countries: Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany.” He also said the man had no accomplices.

The investigation in France is being treated as a terrorism inquiry. But French police are now working to establish whether or not the man was acting alone with no connection to terrorist networks.

The news site Spiegel Online reported that the man had already been classed by German police as a possible suspect after he posed at the refugee centre with an Isis flag, but he disappeared in December.

Welt am Sonntag said the man had drawn a symbol of organisation on the shelter’s wall. The newspaper said he had used different names in separate registrations with German authorities, and filed for asylum using the name Walid Salihi. The man had also given different nationalities at each registration, once saying he was Syrian, another time saying he was Moroccan, and on yet another occasion, Georgian.

[Source:- the gurdian]

By Adam