Bells Toll In Paris' Notre Dame, As The City Mourns Its Dead
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
France is observing three days of national mourning.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHURCH BELLS)
MARTIN: The bells of Notre Dame Cathedral tolled this evening at the start of a memorial service for the victims of Friday's terrorist attacks.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing in foreign language).
MARTIN: At least 129 people were killed. Dozens more are fighting for their lives in Parisian hospitals. French officials initially said all the assailants were killed. But now a manhunt is underway for a possible eighth assailant, who may have been driving a getaway car. Reporter Lauren Frayer is in Paris and is with us now. Lauren, thanks so much for joining us.
LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Sure. Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: So there's some new information about a suspect who may have gotten away?
FRAYER: Right. So it started today with the discovery of this car, loaded with Kalashnikov rifles, found abandoned east of Paris. Witnesses said it may have been the very car used in some of those drive-by shootings on Friday. And that car found nowhere near the attackers' bodies suggests a getaway driver or an accomplice at the very least. French police have now issued a name - Abdeslam Salah - 26 years old, born in Belgium. Police describe him as dangerous. They've issued an international alert and arrest warrant. France's interior minister says the attacks were planned by a terror cell in Belgium. You know, ISIS has claimed responsibility. French authorities say that cell included three brothers who had accomplices in France. Reports say one of the brothers died in the attacks. One was arrested in Belgium, and police believe the third brother is this man who may be on the run. Seven people have been arrested today in Belgium in connection with the Paris attacks.
MARTIN: I can imagine that this has changed the atmosphere in the city after initially people believed that everyone involved was either in custody or was dead. Now to find out that that may not be the case, I'm sure that has an effect on people.
FRAYER: Absolutely. I spent the day talking to people at church services, at these memorials across the city. People were relieved to hear that the attackers were all dead. They felt like they could get on and begin the process of grieving. And now this news that a suspect may be at large - it's really frightening for people. Here's one man I spoke with, Clemont Verauvenne, a law student here in Paris.
CLEMONT VERAUVENNE: It is just like a dark story in our mind. We are all affected. We are sad. Yes, we are a little afraid. But we don't have to panic, and we don't have to let that state of mind invade us.
FRAYER: He says he's hopeful that cooperation will be robust between France and Belgium, both in chasing this suspect at large but also in terrorism in general.
MARTIN: Are you seeing any new security measures in place there now that this thing may not actually be over as we had initially thought?
FRAYER: Well, sirens are blasting through the city center literally every few minutes. You could even hear them as those bells of Notre Dame were tolling tonight. Public schools are supposed to reopen as scheduled tomorrow morning. But, you know, there are armed soldiers and police everywhere. My hotel, for example, just tonight issued new emergency security measures. You have to show ID. They won't hold your luggage for you after you check out. It's just one small example of the really tense atmosphere here. At one point, a solemn memorial gathering in the Place de la Republique, one of Paris's main squares, tonight turned into a stampede - people diving for cover after they heard a loud noise. And that turned out to be nothing, thankfully. But it's an indication of how on edge people are feeling here.
MARTIN: That's reporter Lauren Frayer in Paris. Lauren, thanks so much for speaking with us.
FRAYER: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.