11 Jan 2015

Thousands gather for rally after Paris attacks

World leaders are descending on Paris for a unity rally amid unprecedented security after the terror attacks in France.

Hundreds of thousands of French citizens are set to be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march in Paris today in honour of the 17 victims of this week’s terror attacks.

The march is to be made in silence as a demonstration of solidarity to reflect the profound shock felt in France and across the world over the worst Islamist assault on a European city in nine years.

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Journalists and policemen lost their lives in three days of violence that began with a shooting attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday and ended with a hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket on Friday. The three gunmen were also killed.

Security forces will be on the highest alert for the event, which will attended by about 40 heads of state and government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister David Cameron and Italy Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will march with President Francois Hollande. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Israel`s Benjamin Netanyahu are also expected to take part.

Meanwhile, Turkish and French sources said that a woman hunted by French police as a suspect in the attacks had left France several days before the killings and is believed to be in Syria.

Across France on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people took part in rallies to demonstrate against the attacks. Many people carried signs saying “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) in reference to the satirical weekly newspaper where 12 people, including its top cartoonists, were killed on Wednesday.

In a huge security operation, plainclothes policemen were to protect leading personalities with snipers posted on rooftops along the route from Place de la Republique to Place de la Nation.

In a statement issued from Paris, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the bodies of French Jews killed in the attacks will be buried in Israel. He also said that he planned to increase Jewish emigration from Europe to Israel.

In the capital, London Mayor Boris Johnson said landmarks such as Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square would be illuminated with colours of the French flag.