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Hollande Leads Unity March Through Paris

VOA News, French President Francois Hollande is leading hundreds of thousands of people through the streets of Paris on Sunday, in a massive demonstration to show solidarity with the victims of a terror spree last week that killed 17 people.

World leaders joined Hollande in the capital, as more than a million people participated in the "unity" rally through the city's streets.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are also taking part, along with the king and queen of Jordan. The United States Representative is Attorney General Eric Holder.

Acts of terrorism

French officials have called the January 7 massacre at the Paris officers of the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo and a series of deadly attacks that followed acts of terrorism.

A video of one of the alleged perpetrators that emerged posthumously on social media Sunday describes the killings as retribution for the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State air campaign, in which France is a partner.

This screengrab taken on Jan. 11, 2015, from a video released on Islamist social networks shows a man allegedly claiming to be Amedy Coulibaly.
This screengrab taken on Jan. 11, 2015, from a video released on Islamist social networks shows a man allegedly claiming to be Amedy Coulibaly.
It shows a man believed to be Coulibaly, who French police say is tied to the fatal shooting of a policewoman and a deadly siege of a kosher grocery store after the newspaper attack.

French police also announced Sunday that a gun used to hold up a kosher grocery store in Paris on Friday was the same used in an assault that seriously wounded a jogger two days earlier.

Coulibaly was killed when police stormed the market. Four hostages were killed in that attack.

Holder announced from Paris Sunday that U.S. President Barack Obama would invite world leaders to Washington February 18 for a summit on countering violent extremism.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said from India on Sunday no act of terror would halt "the march of freedom."

"We may all come from different walks of life, but we stand together this morning with the people of France, as they march in tribute to the victims of last week's murderous attack on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. And we stand together not just in anger and outrage, but in solidarity and commitment to the cause of confronting extremism," Kerry said.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said Sunday in Israel before leaving for Paris that he will convene a special ministerial team to increase Jewish immigration to Israel from France and the rest of Europe, adding "the state of Israel is not only the place you pray for, the state of Israel is also your home."

Security is expected to remain tight across the nation for weeks as investigators continue their hunt for the girlfriend of one of three gunmen killed Friday as the two hostage dramas riveted television viewers across the world.

Female suspect

Police originally suspected that 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, described as armed and dangerous, was at the supermarket when her partner, Amedy Coulibaly, killed four hostages before being shot dead by security forces.

But Turkish officials quoted Saturday say the woman entered Turkey January 2 and is now likely in Syria.

Boumeddiene has been pictured in the past wearing traditional female Islamic clothing and shooting a crossbow.

Amedy Coulibaly was an associate of brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi. The siblings - killed in a separate shootout Friday - have been identified as perpetrators of Wednesday's attack on the staff of Charlie Hebdo.

The publication had gained recognition for creating and publishing cartoons lampooning the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Twelve people, including eight journalists and two police officers, were killed in that rampage.

As security forces closed in on the brothers Friday outside Paris, Said Kouachi told reporters by phone that he received training and financing from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. He mentioned his ties to Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who by 2011 had become a senior figure in AQAP and its public face.

Awlaki was killed in September 2011 in Yemen when two U.S. Predator drones operated by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command targeted his vehicle.

AQAP training

American, European and Yemeni sources confirmed that Said Kouachi trained with AQAP, which has publicly praised the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. An audio recording posted on YouTube and attributed to a leader of the group said the attack was prompted by insults to the prophet Muhammad.

Police in Germany said Sunday they have detained two men suspected of an arson attack against a newspaper that republished the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad seen in Charlie Hebdo.

Police officials did not release any details about the men, but added that no one was hurt in the attack on the Hamburger Morgenpost.
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Hollande to Israel: France Will Keep Sanctions on Iran

VOA News, French President Francois Hollande says his government will maintain sanctions and pressure against Iran until he is certain that it has renounced a suspected nuclear weapons program.

Hollande made the pledge to Israeli leaders after arriving in Israel Sunday at the start of a three-day visit. In a welcome ceremony at the airport, the French president said Paris will not tolerate nuclear proliferation. Speaking in Hebrew, Hollande also said, "I will always remain a friend of Israel."

Israel has been urging France and five other world powers not to ease sanctions on Iran as they negotiate with the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who took office in August. Israeli leaders see a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to their nation's existence. Tehran has repeatedly called for Israel's demise.

The six world powers, known as the P5+1, held a second round of talks with the Rouhani government in Geneva earlier this month, hoping to reach a diplomatic solution to international concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program. Another round is due to begin in Geneva Wednesday.

Iran has demanded relief from sanctions that have hurt its economy, but has refused to stop uranium enrichment, a process with civilian and military uses.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned against easing pressure on Iran without forcing it to give up uranium enrichment. Speaking Sunday at a joint news conference with Hollande, the Israeli prime minister said such a concession would be a "dream deal" for Iran and the "worst nightmare" for the world.

In a report published Sunday, the Iranian news agency ISNA quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying Iran does need other countries to explicitly "recognize" an Iranian right to enrich uranium. Zarif said enrichment already is a fundamental right that "all countries should respect."

France has said it opposes any deal that would do too little to curb Iran's enrichment or to stop its development of a reactor capable of producing plutonium, another nuclear weapons ingredient.

Western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of civilian energy and medical research, a charge Tehran denies.

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