Paris remains on edge after terrorist attacks

Police are currently hunting for terror suspect Saleh Abdeslam (Reuters)
Police are currently hunting for terror suspect Saleh Abdeslam (Reuters)

French police are carrying out coordinated, anti-terror raids across the country, in the wake of the weekend's deadly attacks in Paris.

The early-morning raids come just hours after French fighter jets carried out air strikes in Syria, bombing 20 targets.

At least three people have been arrested in Toulouse.

Paris is still very much a city on edge today –  hundreds of people ran in panic when they mistook fireworks for another terror attack.

Police are currently hunting for terror suspect Saleh Abdeslam, after apparently having him in their grip and letting him go.

Elsewhere, US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin shared a 30-minute huddle on the conflict in Syria, while French bombers attacked Raqa, the Syrian city Islamic State claims as its capital.

For two days Paris has lived in the grip of terror. And though Parisians have been trying to loosen that grip by going about their lives as normal, a mere rumour tightened it again in an instant today.

I was reporting on the Paul Henry show when people mistook fireworks for gunshots, causing confusion and fear.

Around 20 minutes later it was reported as a false alarm - there were no shots.

But the rise in tension is hardly surprising, with police confirming that at least one gunman is still at large.

The discovery of a black car in a Paris suburb makes it certain at least one attacker survived. It was later reported that Kalashnikov rifles were found inside.

Police say they're still hunting for a man called Saleh Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French citizen born in Belgium.

They now admit they stopped and questioned him at the French-Belgian border soon after the attacks, but let him go.

More pictures have also emerged of the horrific moment the gunmen struck in a packed concert hall.

The band Eagles of Death Metal were playing, unaware of the carnage about to be wreaked on their young audience.

Mark Harfield, originally of Lower Hutt, says his partner was hit in the neck with shrapnel during the attacks.

"This morning, Sunday, she called me very early and said 'I'm not well, can I come to your place?' so she arrived here this morning and she's a complete mess, and I realised the difference between hearing about it and seeing on the news compared to actually talking to her," says Mr Harfield.

But Mr Harfield says for Parisians, fear could soon turn to anger.

"One thing I know for sure is people here have an opinion and they express it - New Zealanders might keep it to themselves or they might avoid a confrontation or discussion whereas the French won't, they'll tell you exactly what they think."

There's a passionate love for the city evident in Paris. Floral tributes and candles are filling the streets. But Islamic State's bullets and bombs will strike again, in France or somewhere else, and the citizens of the Western world's other great cities are surely watching closely, and nervously.

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