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French officials mark third anniversary of Bataclan attack

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French officials mark third anniversary of Bataclan attack

French officials mark third anniversary of Bataclan attack
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PARIS (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo led commemorations on Tuesday to mark the third anniversary of the co-ordinated Islamic State attacks on Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

Outside the Bataclan theatre, where 90 people were gunned down during a rock concert, the names of those who died were solemnly read out. Dignitaries, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, stood on the street in silence with heads inclined.

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The attacks, which began with suicide blasts outside the Stade de France during a soccer match attended by then President Francois Hollande and continued with several mass shootings and a suicide bombing at cafes and restaurants in the city, were the deadliest in France since World War Two.

As well as the 130 people killed, more than 400 were injured, many of them seriously. Seven attackers, most of whom had French or Belgian citizenship, were killed. Several of them had fought in Syria and all were Islamic State adherents.

Earlier on Tuesday, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner warned that the threat of terrorist attacks was still high, even if Islamic State has been weakened greatly over the past year or more and driven out of its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

"The threat remains elevated even if it has changed," he told BFM TV. "At the same time, our intelligence and our ability to intervene has grown stronger, with extra recruitment and powers given to the DGSI," he said, referring to France's domestic security and intelligence agency.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, saying they were retaliation for France's participation in airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.

(Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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