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Live Blog: Tracking Islamic State

Follow all of the latest developments as they happen.

A woman rests near rubble in the Syrian town of Darat Izza in Aleppo Province on February 28.


Latest News For February 29

-- The United States Army's elite Delta Force is on the verge of beginning operations to target, capture or kill top IS operatives in Iraq, after several weeks of covert preparation, an administration official with direct knowledge of the force's activities told CNN.

-- Syrian government forces have regained control of a road used by the army to access Aleppo, after making advances against Islamic State fighters, a monitoring group and state television reported.

-- Authorities in Iraq say the death toll from a double bombing at a market in Baghdad’s Shi’ite neighborhood of Sadr City rose to 73 on February 29 after several critically wounded victims died overnight.

-- Tajik media are reporting that a woman known to be the second wife of Gulmurod Halimov, the fugitive Tajik colonel who defected to the IS group, has left for Syria along with the couple's four young children.

-- The UN is poised to begin delivering aid to people living in besieged areas of Syria, making use of a truce brokered by the United States and Russia. The first deliveries are planned for Feb. 29, with aid due to reach about 150,000 Syrians in besieged areas over the next five days.

-- A truce negotiated between Syrian rebels and the government has caused a dramatic decrease in airstrikes around rebel-held territory, but there were few celebrations, with many residents suspecting a trick, CNN report.

* NOTE: Live blog posts are time-stamped according to Central European Time (CET).

09:57 18.11.2015
16x9 Image Joanna Paraszczuk

A statement from the Paris Prosecutor on the Saint-Denis raid near Paris confirms that one suicide bomber has died, three arrests were made in the apartment and two more nearby.

10:03 18.11.2015
16x9 Image Joanna Paraszczuk

The police raid on an apartment in Saint-Denis where suspects in the November 13 Paris massacre were holed up is ongoing. At least one suspect is reported to be still inside the apartment, according to a source at the local town hall who spoke to France24. The police are saying that one suspect is still in the apartment.

10:07 18.11.2015
16x9 Image Joanna Paraszczuk

Brett Mason from Australia's SBS News reports that French RAID officers are trying to access the apartment in Saint-Denis, which they fear could be rigged with explosives. Police are also using binoculars to scan nearby rooftops and apartments, Mason tweeted.

10:22 18.11.2015
16x9 Image Joanna Paraszczuk

Video footage has started to emerge of the raids in Saint-Denis.

Sky News tweeted this short clip in which heavy gunfire is heard.

Explosions were heard during CNN's live report from the scene earlier on November 18.

10:35 18.11.2015

Police and security services have evacuated residents from the north Paris suburb of Saint-Denis during the raid.

Some civilians who lived in the area near the raid and who were evacuated to the local town hall have been taken to ambulances, reporter Harold Doornbos says.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

10:51 18.11.2015
Syria -- An undated picture taken from the February 2015 issue 7 of the Islamic State (IS) group online English-language magazine Dabiq, purportedly shows 27-year-old Belgian IS group leading militant Abdelhamid Abaaoud, also known as Abu Umar al-Baljiki
Syria -- An undated picture taken from the February 2015 issue 7 of the Islamic State (IS) group online English-language magazine Dabiq, purportedly shows 27-year-old Belgian IS group leading militant Abdelhamid Abaaoud, also known as Abu Umar al-Baljiki

Police sources have said that one of the targets of the ongoing police raids in Saint-Denis in Paris is be Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the November 13 Paris attacks.

Abaaoud, a.k.a. Abu Umar al-Baljiki ("the Belgian"), is a 27-year-old low-level IS militant from Belgium. He was thought to have been killed fighting alongside IS in Syria last fall, according to the New York Times. But Abaaoud was actually on his way back to Europe -- and has since been linked to a series of terror operations that ended with last week's massacre in the French capital.

In January, Belgian police raided a safe house for militants in Verviers that Abaaoud helped set up -- but the operation, which killed two of his fellow militants, missed Abaaoud.

Abaaoud would appear in the February 2015 edition of IS's glossy propaganda magazine, Dabiq, which lauded the Belgian militant as "a mujahid being pursued by Western intelligence agencies for his jihad in Belgium."

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

11:14 18.11.2015

French police have confirmed that a police dog named Diesel was killed in this morning's raids in Saint-Denis in Paris. The dog was a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois (Belgian Shepherd Dog).

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

11:22 18.11.2015

The suspects in the Saint-Denis raids had planned an attack in the La Defense business district, Reuters and the France 2 TV station are reporting, citing a source close to the investigation.

France 2 says that two suspects were killed during the raid and five have been arrested including three who had been in the apartment at the time and two who were outside. France 2 said DNA samples are being taken from those who have been arrested.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

11:33 18.11.2015

France Info is reporting that a third suspect was killed in the Saint-Denis raid this morning, in addition to a woman who blew herself up with a suicide vest and a male suspect killed by a sniper.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

11:36 18.11.2015

Reuters have shared a photograph of one of the terror suspects arrested this morning during the raids in Saint-Denis.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

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About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world.


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