France invokes EU treaty following #ParisAttacks

The formal request for help from EU partners comes after the coordinated attacks in the capital on Friday.

Rescue workers evacuate injured people near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, on November 13, 2015. At least 39 people were killed in an "unprecedented" series of bombings and shootings across Paris and at the Stade de France stadium on November 13.  Picture: AFP

PARIS - France has made a formal request for help from its European Union (EU) partners following the Paris attacks, invoking a mutual assistance article in the EU's treaty for the first time.

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The French ministry has announced its invoked article 42.7, in the wake of Friday night's coordinated attacks in the capital, which claimed more than 130 lives.

Immediate details of what France will request are not clear, but the EU's Lisbon Treaty says that in the case of "armed aggression" on any EU country, the other countries have "an obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power".

At the same time, the United Nations Refugee Agency has urged European countries not to react to Friday's attacks in Paris by rejecting or blaming refugees, the vast majority of whom were fleeing persecution or conflict.

Earlier President Jacob Zuma made a similar call, while condemning the attacks on both Paris and Lebanon.

Speaking on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Turkey, Zuma warned world leaders not to label all refugees as terrorists in the wake of the deadly violence.

He says South Africa stands with the people of Lebanon and France.

"Refugees flocking into Europe in search of peace and a better life must not be labelled and ostracised as a result of this attack. The attacks do not mean that every refugee is a terrorist."


French President Francois Hollande has also called on the United States and Russia to join a global coalition to destroy the Islamic State.

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"France is at war," Hollande told a joint session of Parliament at the Palace of Versailles, promising to increase funds for national security and strengthen anti-terror laws in response to the suicide bombings and shootings.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Friday's coordinated attacks, saying they were in retaliation for France's involvement in US-backed air strikes in Iraq and Syria.

The group warned in a video on Monday that any country hitting it would suffer the same fate as Paris, promising specifically to target Washington.


French officials have named six people they believe carried out the Paris attacks.

Investigators say three brothers including one of the main suspects, Salah Abdeslam, have been at the centre of their investigation.

The third brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, who has since been released, says his family is devastated.

"You also need to understand that in spite of the tragedy, my parents are in shock. We do not realise yet what has happened. My family and I are affected by what happened and we found out via television just like many of you."

The attacks, claimed by the Islamic State, are suspected to have been masterminded by Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is believed to be in Syria.

He's reported to have spent time fighting in Syria and has been known to Belgian security forces after appearing in an Isis video.

Other suspects named include Omar Ismail Mostefai, Ahmad al-Mohammad, Bilal Hadfi and Samy Amimour.

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Note: Additional reporting by Reuters.