Wembley show of unity for Paris attacks

Published: Wednesday 18th November 2015 by The News Editor

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England and France united for a public display of defiance and solidarity in a football friendly at Wembley in the wake of the massacre of 129 people in Paris.

More than 70,000 fans from both side of the Channel roared a stirring rendition of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, underneath the famous Wembley arch lit up in the colours of the Tricolore.

England won the match 2-0 as the Duke of Cambridge, the chairman of the Football Association, looked on while other friendlies across Europe, including in Belgium and Germany, were cancelled over security fears.

A minute’s silence was also observed before the match, which took place amid heightened security and mounting political pressure for British action in Syria against Islamic State (IS) – which has claimed responsibility for the attacks in the French capital.

French authorities are hunting for a second unidentified terrorist thought to be directly involved in the Paris terror attacks after CCTV reportedly emerged suggesting there were three extremists involved in the attack on a bar.

It would take the total number of attackers to nine, with seven dead and the eighth surviving gunman, Salah Abdeslam, the subject of an international manhunt.

Earlier, David Cameron vowed to outline the case for RAF air strikes against IS targets, telling MPs the militants’ stronghold of Raqqa in Syria was the “snake’s head” and Britain should attack to “rid the world of this evil”.

The Prime Minister’s pledge to lay out a “comprehensive strategy” for dealing with IS came as France and Russia stepped up their bombing campaigns against the extremist group.

The French government issued an unprecedented demand for its European Union allies to support its military action against IS by invoking a never-before-used article of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty which requires member states to provide “aid and assistance by all the means in their power” to a member that is “the victim of armed aggression on its territory”.

But Mr Cameron will face a Commons showdown with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has made clear his opposition to military intervention, although there are signs that growing numbers of Labour MPs could defy Mr Corbyn.

No 10 said there was no date or timetable for a Commons vote, but the strategy would be set out by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll for the Times has found public support for allowing Syrian refugees to settle in Britain has slumped.

The government has pledged to take 20,000 over the next five years, with around a hundred arriving on a charter flight yesterday.

But the survey suggested 49% of the public thought the UK should be accepting fewer or no refugees – up 22 points since September.

The proportion who want to take more Syrian refugees has dropped from 36% to 20% over the same period.

Published: Wednesday 18th November 2015 by The News Editor

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