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Paris attacks: Islamic State are ‘psychopathic monsters’, says Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry has described Islamic State (IS) militants as “psychopathic monsters” following Friday’s deadly attacks in ...

US Secretary of State John Kerry has described Islamic State (IS) militants as “psychopathic monsters” following Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris.

Mr Kerry, in Paris for talks with President Hollande, said the US stood “shoulder to shoulder” with France.

Mr Hollande says France is committed to destroying IS. French air strikes hit the militants in Syria overnight.

IS has said it carried out the attacks on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and a stadium in which 129 people died.

A huge manhunt is still under way for a suspected member of the group, Salah Abdeslam, who was believed to have fled across the border to his native Belgium.
US Secretary of State John Kerry
Belgium’s government has raised its terror threat level, causing Tuesday’s football match between the national team and Spain to be cancelled.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett Usher, who is travelling with Mr Kerry, says his visit to Paris is to demonstrate Washington’s support for a key ally.

In the wake of the attacks, the two countries have tightened their military co-operation, boosting the exchange of intelligence to help French air strikes against IS.

Meanwhile early on Tuesday, French warplanes carried out fresh strikes against the IS stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria, the army general staff said, destroying a command centre and training centre.

Standing outside the US embassy on Monday, Mr Kerry called France America’s oldest friend and first ally, and said the only response to the attacks must be a fierce sense of solidarity.

“Your American sisters and brothers will stand with you shoulder to shoulder as we have stood together throughout history. Tonight we are all Parisians,” he said.

Mr Kerry added that the fight against IS was not a clash of civilisations.

“They are in fact psychopathic monsters. There’s nothing civilised about them,” he said.

After he spoke the building was illuminated in the blue, white and red of the French flag.
State of emergency

The attacks in Paris – which also left more than 400 people wounded, some critically – have galvanised Western countries in their campaign against the so-called Islamic State.

UK Chancellor George Osborne is due to say in a speech on Tuesday that IS is trying to develop the ability to launch deadly cyber-attacks on the UK.

During a visit to the GCHQ listening station in Cheltenham, he is to announce that the UK’s investment in fighting cybercrime will double.

Prime Minister David Cameron has already announced extra funding for UK special forces, such as the elite SAS, following Friday’s attacks.

President Hollande told a rare joint session of the French parliament on Monday that he would table a bill to extend for three months the state of emergency declared after the attacks. He said thousands more police officers would be recruited.

Early on Monday, French police carried out more than 160 raids on suspected Islamist militants. A total of 23 people were arrested, 104 put under house arrest, and dozens of weapons seized, officials said.

Seven people were detained in Belgium over the weekend, two of whom were charged on Monday with “participating in a terrorist attack”.

The other five were later released, including Mohammed Abdeslam, the brother of two suspects – Brahim Abdeslam, killed during the attacks, and Salah Abdeslam. BBC