Newspaper headlines: 'Party girl' suicide bomber, doctors walkout and HBOS reports

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The aftermath of the Paris attacks continues to attract widespread coverage - and there is much interest in reports a former party girl became a suicide bomber who blew herself up in a police raid in the suburb of Saint Denis.

Hasna Aitboulahcen is said to be the cousin of suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was also killed in Wednesday's operation.

The Sun says Aitboulahcen was a "reformed party animal" once known as "cowgirl" because of the way she dressed on nights out. The Daily Star quotes friends of the 26-year-old as saying she had been a "very dynamic extrovert", a heavy drinker, who dyed her hair blonde and had no interest in religion.

The Times, which also pictures Aitboulahcen on its front page, traces her life from a "party girl who hung out with drug dealers" to construction company manager and the first female suicide bomber on European soil.

Intercepting her phone calls, reports the Independent, led the security services to locate the terrorists' hide out.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Police at the scene of raid in Saint Denis

The Financial Times, meanwhile, says 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud's transformation from a suburban thief to mass murder in just two years "epitomises the new face of jihadi terror".

"His rapid radicalisation, his youth, his digital savvy, his connections and his viciousness represents everything that intelligence agencies worry about," it says.

Other papers examine the security fallout from the raid.

Abaaoud was originally believed to have planned the attacks from an Islamic State stronghold in Syria and the Guardian says confirmation of his death in Paris raises serious questions about how one of Europe's most wanted men could have travelled freely around the continent.

It has, says the paper, "put European leaders under intense pressure to get a grip" on the continent's external and internal borders"

According to the Daily Telegraph, Abaaoud was able to return from Syria via the migrant route of Greece, and EU interior ministers are to move to bring in tighter controls to ensure that every single migrant is checked against a terrorism watchlist.

UN agreement?

Image source, AFP

The attacks in Paris as well as the downing of the Russian jet over the Sinai Peninsula and alleged killing this week of a Chinese national by IS, have galvanised a hitherto divided Security Council, it says.

A French draft resolution, says the Independent, calls on member states "with the capacity to do so" to "take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law".

The Daily Express splashes on the warning by the French prime minister that IS is trying to acquire chemical weapons to use against the West.

Jason Burke in the Guardian, says it is the "nightmare scenario" that has been intermittently raised by officials over the last 20-odd years but "should be seen for what it is: Extremely unlikely".

More on the Paris attacks

  • Financial Times: Belgium's arms bazaar - How a thriving market in firearms has made the country a launchpad for jihadis.
  • Guardian: Paris may be a game changer in Scotland as well as England - Iain Macwhirter wonders whether Nicola Sturgeon's decision to listen to the case for the UK strikes on Syria signals the end of the SNP's pacifist image.
  • Daily Mail: Courage of waitress who risked her life to comfort dying victims at pizzeria - Jasmine El Youssi explains why she would have rather paid with her own life than leave victims to die on the street.
  • Times: Survivor hid for hours in a box the size of a suitcase - Man brought out of the Bataclan concert hall reveals police thought he was one of the terrorists when he emerged from his hiding place.

'Dad's army doctors'

An overwhelming majority of junior doctors in England have voted in favour of strike action next month in their dispute with ministers over a new contract.

And the Times focuses on the government's plans to provide cover during a walkout with what it terms a "dad's army of doctors". Using locum agencies to cover strikes is illegal and the paper says some hospitals will turn to volunteers, with recently retired consultants expected to fill in.

Image source, PA

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has ruled out bringing in mediators and urged union leaders to agree to fresh talks. But the Mirror's leader column says Mr Hunt's "bullying and incompetence" have pushed hospital staff over the brink in the row about the proposed changes, which they contend could put patients in danger.

The Guardian's health correspondent Denis Campbell says the next few weeks will bring difficult questions for both sides. "Why on earth do they both seem unable to actually talk to each other to try and avert strikes that no one wants?"

In the Guardian's view Mr Hunt should call in the conciliation service Acas now as a "sensible way out of an impasse that threatens to damage everyone caught up in it".

The Sun warns junior doctors that a strike could turn out to be the "fastest way to destroy the high regard in which their profession is held". They are "not badly paid", it adds, and the government's reasoning is "perfectly sensible".

Eye-catching headlines

What the commentators say...

Media caption,

Emma Barnett, women's editor of the Daily Telegraph, and Kevin Schofield, editor of the PoliticsHome website, join the BBC News Channel to review Friday's front pages.

'Laxity and excess'

The publication of reports into the collapse of Halifax Bank of Scotland in 2008 attracts the attention of the leader writers.

The Financial Times says the Bank of England's report which blamed top executives for the failure "clarifies responsibility". But it says it is "neither fair nor prudent" that only one executive to date has faced sanctions.

Image source, PA

The findings, says the Independent, are "as damning as they are delayed" and "should not dull the senses of a once-outraged public".

The Daily Mail is angered by the realisation that the most regulators can now do is consider banning up to 10 former executives from working in the industry. In the paper's opinion that is "some punishment since all are so rich they never need work again".

But in the Daily Telegraph, Jeremy Warner says the "ongoing hunt for scapegoats" for 2008 "is both far too late and largely misses the point".

"Bankers have not been sent to jail because they didn't do anything illegal. And bankers haven't been disciplined because they were only part of a politically-sanctioned climate of laxity and excess that ran right through the economy from top to bottom."

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