Paris attacks: British victim named as death toll climbs to 129

Nick Alexander who was believed to have been working at the Bataclan theatre has been named as the first British victim of the attacks. Picture: Hemedia
Nick Alexander who was believed to have been working at the Bataclan theatre has been named as the first British victim of the attacks. Picture: Hemedia
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  • 129 confirmed victims; 352 injured, 99 critically
  • A British victim has been named as Nick Alexander
  • Manhunt launched for suspect Abdeslam Salah
  • Stade de France bomber stopped from entering arena ‘had ticket to match’
  • Arrests in Belgium during operation linked to Paris attacks
  • Man arrested in Germany last week after weapons found in car ‘linked to attacks’
  • Attacker who had Syrian passport found at scene of attack crossed into EU through Greek island of Leros in October
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LAW enforcement and intelligence agencies across Europe will continue the investigation into the Paris terrorist atrocities as the UK was braced for news of more British fatalities.

A “handful” of Britons are feared to be among the dead after gunmen and bombers rampaged across Paris, carrying out the worst terrorist attack in Europe for more than a decade.

Home Secretary Theresa May will chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra committee to consider the latest information on the massacre and the UK’s response.

The first British fatality was named as Nick Alexander, who was selling merchandise for rock band Eagles of Death Metal when their concert was targeted by members of the Islamic State (IS) terror cell thought to be behind the attacks in the French capital.

The death toll among Britons is expected to rise, and the total loss of life in the atrocity has been revised up to at least 129.

A UK Government source said: “We know of one death already, we fear there may be a handful of British fatalities and about the same number are being treated for their injuries in hospital.”

David Cameron earlier warned that the UK should “be prepared for a number of British casualties”, as he told the French people: “Your fight is our fight.”

• READ MORE: Paris attacks: Scotland pays tribute

Arrests in Belgium

A number of people have been arrested in Belgium as part of an operation linked to the Paris terror attacks.

Belgian police block a street during a raid in Brussels' Molenbeek district. Picture: AFP/Getty

Belgian police block a street during a raid in Brussels' Molenbeek district. Picture: AFP/Getty

The individuals arrested are not known to French intelligence, and were detained in the Molenbeek area of Brussels on Saturday, according to Belgium’s justice minister Koen Geens.

Mr Geens told the VRT network that the arrests came after a car with Belgian number plates was seen close to the Bataclan theatre.

He said it was a rental vehicle and police had organised several raids in the St Jans Molenbeek neighbourhood.

Mr Geens added that “there were arrests relating to the search of the vehicle and person who rented it”.

France is united and taking action and it will triumph over barbarity. What we are defending is our country, but more than that, it is our values

Francois Hollande

He said the number of arrests was “more than one”.

Three more were arrested on the Belgian border with France.

Stadium attacker ‘had ticket to match’

The operation in Belgium followed the arrest of a man in Germany last week, whose Volkswagen Golf was found to contain weapons and TNT. German officials confirmed on Saturday that he had been travelling to Paris when he was detained.

Speaking on Saturday evening, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that ‘three co-ordinated teams’ carried out the attacks on the French capital on Friday night, and that those who targeted the Bataclan theatre, where 89 people died, mentioned Syria and Iraq.

It also emerged that one of the Stade de France attackers, wearing an explosive vest, had a ticket to the football match between France and Germany but was blocked from entering the arena.

A rose with a sign reading 'In the name of what?' is pictured in a bullet hole in a restaurant window. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

A rose with a sign reading 'In the name of what?' is pictured in a bullet hole in a restaurant window. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

It was then that he detonated his bomb.

The stadium attackers ‘had Egyptian and Syrian passports’, it was revealed.

• READ MORE: Paris attacks: Events as they happened

One attacker born in Paris suburbs ‘was known to police’

Mr Molins also revealed that three people were arrested on Saturday morning, including one on the border between France and Belgium.

He went on to say that one attacker was from the southern Parisian suburb of Courcouronnes - around 26km from the city centre - and had been born there in 1985.

He had a record for petty crimes committed between 2004 and 2006. Intelligence services believed he had been ‘radicalised’ in 2010 but was not known to be part of any known network.

The French media named one of the attackers as Ismaïl Omar Mostefai, a French national now widely believed to be the suspect Molins was referring to. He was identified from a finger recovered at the Bataclan. His fingerprints matched those on police file.

Mr Molins also confirmed that the attackers were armed with automatic Kalashnikov weapons, and all seven suicide attackers wore identical explosives belts.

Black Seat vehicle hunted

One attacker whose Syrian passport was found at the scene of the Bataclan theatre attack was found to have crossed into the European Union through the Greek island of Leros in October.

Police are also hunting a black Seat car in connection with the attacks.

One British national is confirmed to have been killed in the attacks, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office saying there may be a ‘handful’ more British deaths.

A London-educated lawyer was among the 89 victims of the Bataclan massacre.

Valentin Ribet, 26, a London School of Economics (LSE) business law graduate, was confirmed as one of the people feared dead after gunmen opened fire into the crowd at the concert hall in Paris, during a concert by American band Eagles of Death Metal.

• READ MORE: Paris attacks: Scotland stands ready to help - Sturgeon

Mr Ribet worked in the Paris office of the international law firm Hogan Lovells.

A number of Americans are also thought to be among the injured.

In London, a French national was detained at Gatwick Airport, after ‘acting suspiciously’. He was later found to have thrown a gun in a bin in the airport’s North Terminal. He has now been charged with possession of an air rifle and a knife.

Pizzeria targeted ‘was popular with UK tourists’

One of the targets of the Paris terror attacks was a pizzeria popular with British holidaymakers, a doctor who helped at the scene claimed.

Anaesthetist Michel Bonnot said he expected Britons to be among the dead after Islamic State (IS) terrorists opened fire last night at La Casa Nostra.

Mr Bonnot said passers-by tried in vain to save fatally injured customers.

He said: “I saw two girls on the floor after the gunfire. It sounded like fireworks.

“I came down to the terrace and saw the girls, they were under 30.

“One was already dead and the other was trying to speak. I couldn’t hear what she was saying. Then she stopped.

“I tried to resuscitate her, I did everything I could, but she died right there in front of me.

“She wasn’t the only one. There were a few bodies which were moved out of the way against the bar.

“The whole restaurant was crazy.

“Everyone here spoke English. I have no doubt it was not just French people in this restaurant last night,” Dr Bonnot added.

• READ MORE: Paris attacks: City in lockdown, attractions close

‘I could see a guy carrying a Kalashnikov’

One other witness, who gave his name as Tommaso, said he called the police after seeing a man open fire some time between 9.30pm and 10pm.

Returning to the scene today, the 40-year-old, from Italy, said: “I heard the gunshots and looked out my window.

“I could see a guy carrying a Kalashnikov. Then he got in a car that was waiting for him outside.

“Then I lay down so I couldn’t be seen, and called the police.”

Earlier on Saturday, French president Francois Hollande said that France would wage ‘merciless’ war on Islamic State, after the jihadists claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins. Picture: Getty

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins. Picture: Getty

A French soldier stands in a street next to Rue de Charonne. A cafe nearby was one of the targeted sites. Picture: AP

A French soldier stands in a street next to Rue de Charonne. A cafe nearby was one of the targeted sites. Picture: AP

Rescuers evacuate people following an attack in the 10th arrondissement of the French capital. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Rescuers evacuate people following an attack in the 10th arrondissement of the French capital. Picture: AFP/Getty Images