Paris: 'Mastermind's taunts', Wembley call to arms and farewell 'Madam Cyn' - newspaper headlines

The smiling face of a man who police believe "masterminded" Friday's gun and bomb attacks in Paris peers out from several of Tuesday's front pages.

Describing Abdelhamid Abaaoud as a "pin-up for Islamic State fanatics", the Times says he "appears to be the brains" behind the plot that claimed the lives of 129 people, quoting a security source who spoke to a Belgian paper. "Sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison for leading a network of 32 Belgiam [Islamic State] fighters in May, Abaaoud had humiliated Belgian police by giving them the slip four months earlier when preparing to carry out a major terrorist attack in Belgium," the Times adds.

According to the Daily Mail, he's since taunted security forces by saying: "My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them and leave safely when doing so became necessary." The Mail claims he's exploited the migrant crisis to cross Europe, quoting him saying: "I was able to leave and come to Syria despite being chased by so many intelligence agencies."

"In IS propaganda videos, he styles himself as an executioner and is seen amid piles of corpses," says the Mail. It prints pictures of Abaaoud posing with guns and brandishing a Koran and IS flag. The Daily Mirror reports that Abaaoud "groomed his own 13-year-old brother to join his barbaric cause", and reproduces a photograph of the teenager holding a rifle.

Image copyright AP

As the Guardian notes: "For a man at the centre of a global manhunt, he was already something of a celebrity. On social media, he is referred to by his nom de guerre, Abu Umar al-Belgiki - combining a resonant Sunni first name with his country of origin."

The Independent says Abaaoud's father has said he is "ashamed" of him and that he has destroyed his family's lives. "We had a nice life, yes, even a fantastic life here. Abdelhamid was not a difficult child and had become a good trader," his father said, with reference to a family clothing store.

However, Abaaoud is said to have confounded his father by leaving for Syria in 2013, where he has appeared in IS propaganda. "In one video he is seen driving a pick-up vehicle dragging the corpses of murdered opponents," the paper says.

The Sun reports that Abaaoud "has ties to a jihadi group funded by notorious British hate preachers". It says Omar Bakri Mohammed, who ran a radical group in north London before being excluded from the UK after his arrest in Lebanon in 2005, helped launch the Sharia4Belgium group "which is feared to be the inspiration" of the alleged Paris plotter.

The group "funded operations and arranged exchange programmes for Brit followers" before being "smashed by police" earlier this year, when its members were jailed, the paper says.

The Daily Telegraph prints a graphic entitled "web of terror", showing how Abaaoud is alleged to have been linked to the other suspected gang members. Key links include having lived in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, served time in jail alongside other suspected gang members and spent time in Syria with others.


What the commentators say

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Media captionBroadcaster Penny Smith and economics commentator Liam Halligan join the BBC News Channel to review Tuesday's papers.

'Aux armes, citoyens'

Many papers look ahead to Tuesday night's football friendly between England and France at Wembley, with much of the focus being on calls for the home supporters to sing the national anthem of their rivals.

The lyrics of La Marseillaise are printed on the Daily Mirror's back page, set against the blue, white and red of the French flag. Historian Dan Snow writes in the Telegraph that it's "entirely in keeping" with tradition to "belt out La Marseillaise" at Wembley. "We have always been France's twin. Our two nations have long inspired each other's artists, inventors, leaders and radicals.

"Geography and history have thrown our two nations together, in war and in peace, in competition and in co-operation. With histories thus conjoined, our fates can never be separate... The bond is strong enough to withstand armies of nihilist thugs."

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The Daily Mirror's editorial implores readers to "stand firm... sing loud". It argues: "We can all join in, whether watching at home or in a pub, to prove we are not frightened - that we are many and they are few. Because carrying on with our everyday lives, going to sports events and dining out, in its own way, is a defeat for the terrorists. They want us to change. We must let them see that it is they who need to change."

Having watched the French side train "in the drizzle of a deserted Wembley", the Daily Mail's Martin Samuel says there were "no smiles, non of the raucous levity that often accompanies training sessions... the joy had been sucked from them, for now" as they do what their country demands. "As a memorial to [the] dead, a non-competitive international football match may seem a trite ceremony, but this is not about the game, but what it has come to represent," he adds.

In the Sun, former France striker Thierry Henry offers a taste of how the players might feel. He writes that he will never forget the night his Arsenal side were ordered to play a Champions League tie against Real Mallorca five hours after New York's World Trade Centre had been destroyed by al-Qaeda.

"It was the only time in my career that we lost and I didn't care. We played because we had to but while I was physically on the pitch, mentally I was on the other side of the Atlantic with all those people suffering in America," he writes.

Armed police will be on duty at Tuesday's game, with a further 5,000 troops on standby, according to the Sun. It quotes defence sources saying the SAS will "mingle among the crowds" with orders to shoot to kill if terrorists strike. Despite the tension, the Daily Star remains determined to laugh in the face of adversity by giving its front page a football-themed headline reading: "Balls to terror."


Eye-catching headlines

  • "Bernie Cliftune" - Ostrich-riding comedian Bernie Clifton has battled through six rounds of auditions to win the chance to impress judges on BBC talent show The Voice, says the Daily Mirror
  • "Sweet sprouts, cake that's slimming... it's the food of the future" - the Daily Mail looks ahead to another BBC show, Tomorrow's Food, to be broadcast later in the month, which will highlight developments such as "pizza that can stay fresh for up to three years"
  • "TV Pete: My dad was sold as slave" - Strictly Come Dancing star Peter Andre has revealed that his dad was "sold off" by his family when they had no money during the World War Two, says the Daily Star
  • "Anglers are cast out as fishiest of lovers hook up..." the Daily Express reports complaints of anglers in Brighouse, West Yorks, that fishing trips are being spoiled by strangers using nearby woodland for "lewd encounters"

'Madam Cyn'

The death of brothel keeper Cynthia Payne, who became known as Madam Cyn, prompts many colourful reminders of her life. Several writers refer to the 1978 vice squad raid that propelled her into the public eye.

"Many of the 53 middle-aged men crammed inside the respectable-looking house were in various stages of undress," writes Adrian Lee in the Express. "Some were clutching Luncheon Vouchers, which they were preparing to exchange for 'personal services' from more than a dozen call girls."

As the Mail's Geoffrey Levy puts it: "The men included several vicars, a peer of the realm, an Irish MP, company chiefs and several barristers. For some such a scene can only represent appalling depravity. For most, however, it's so absurdly comic that even now, 37 years later, it is still capable of raising the nation's spirits - especially the use of Luncheon Vouchers, which in those days were a perk given by companies to employees to pay for meals."

In the Daily Mirror, Paul Callan recalls visiting the "cosy, lace-curtained" home in Ambleside Avenue for the paper in 1986. "Behind the neatly-painted front door was an astonishing world of sexual desire, lust and practices so bizarre that they would puzzle the most liberal thinker," he writes.

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Image caption Payne, right, with Julie Walters, who played her in the film Personal Services

"Regulars included a peer of the realm who liked dressing up as Bo Peep, a vicar with a penchant for plump angels and a well-known criminal barrister who enjoyed changing from wig and gown into high heels and stockings."

As the Guardian's obituary notes, Payne was jailed for 18 months after police observed 249 men and 50 women going into her house over a 12-day period, although the sentence was reduced to six on appeal and she served four behind bars. "Payne emerged from Holloway prison to be met by a former client in a Rolls Royce and obligingly gave the waiting photographers a V-sign and a quote: "V for victory, V for voucher."

As the Mail reports, Payne only invited men aged 40 and over to what she insisted were "parties". It quotes her saying: "When my mum died, I used to see [my father] walking about the house crying... I thought if I stick the middle-aged and elderly people who have lost their wives or who had sick wives, or men who lived on their own, it would run as a sort of welfare state."

The paper's Ephraim Hardcastle column recalls that Payne famously offered her clients "the run of the house and a three-course dinner, with wine for £25". It quotes former Tory MP for Kensington South, sir Brandon Rhys-Williams commenting: "The wine can't be up to much."

"Following her second trial," says the Daily Telegraph's obituary, "Cynthia Payne determined to change what she considered to be Britain's archaic sex laws. She stood for Parliament as a candidate for the Payne and Pleasure Party in the Kensington by-election in July 1988 and again in Streatham in the 1992 general election. Her stated aim was to 'provide light relief, to whip up support and to raise funds'."

The Sun recounts what it says was her last ever interview, with reporter Fran Bowden she revealed Payne still kept two "slaves" to look after the house and garden. "It's handy having them at my age. Slaves are very useful, they do the things you don't want to do. They like to be humiliated. Sometimes they like me to whip their bottoms."


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