Paris attacks: Merkel, Cameron call meetings

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives to address the press at the Chancellery in Berlin.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives to address the press at the Chancellery in Berlin.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN/LONDON (AFP/REUTERS) - The leaders of European neighbours Germany and Britain have called meetings after the deadly attacks in Paris on Friday (Nov 14) that killed at least 128 people and injured scores more.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she will meet ministers over the series of attacks, as she pledged to "do everything" to help France in its fight against terrorists.

"We will do everything to help in the hunt for the perpetrators and instigators, and to carry out the fight together against these terrorists," she said, adding that she will meet with ministers to discuss "the situation in France and all related questions".

She said on Saturday that Germany would help France to hunt down the perpetrators of the attacks and that Berlin would jointly battle the fight against terrorism with France to defend European values.

"The people in Paris are enduring a nightmare of violence, terror and fear," Dr Merkel said in Berlin. "We, the German friends, we are feeling with them. We are crying with them."

"This attack on freedom is not only aimed against Paris. It's aimed against us all," Dr Merkel said, adding that Europe would stand united to defend its values. "We know that our free life is stronger than terror."

British Prime Minister David Cameron also said he would convene the government's emergency committee early on Saturday after the "sickening" attacks.

"I will be chairing a meeting of Cobra this morning following the horrifying and sickening terror attacks in Paris," Mr Cameron said on Twitter.

Britain's terrorism threat level stands at "severe", the second-highest category, which means a militant attack is considered highly likely.

Mr Cameron will chair the meeting later on Saturday in London, where at the French embassy, the flag had been lowered to fly at half-mast.

London Metropolitan Police Service's assistant commissioner Mark Rowley told the BBC that Britain's threat level was under constant review, adding that policing across the country would be strengthened, with additional officers and checks.

"We're strengthening our policing stance at the moment across the country," he said on Saturday.

A spokesman for the Met said that additional police patrols across London's popular West End theatre and restaurant district were planned for Saturday evening.

Britain's "severe" threat level has been in place since August 2014, when it was raised largely due to the danger the authorities say is posed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters and the hundreds of Britons who have joined them.

The highest level is "critical", which means an attack is expected imminently.