Suspect Blows Herself Up in France Raid
7 arrested, but whereabouts of alleged mastermind is unclear
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2015 1:56 AM CST
Updated Nov 18, 2015 7:09 AM CST
Police forces arrest a man in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
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(Newser) – Dramatic developments in the hunt for surviving suspects from the Paris attacks: At least two are dead and seven more arrested after a huge police raid on an apartment in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, Wednesday morning. The big question—whether alleged mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud is among them—remains unclear, reports the AP. He was thought to have been hiding in a safe house in the neighborhood. A woman detonated a suicide belt when police moved in, and a man was killed when a grenade went off, reports the New York Times. The police action lasted about seven hours. More:

  • In a speech after the raid, French President Francois Hollande declared that ISIS is "threatening the whole world" and told lawmakers that France must "reestablish control of (its) frontiers," reports the BBC. Fighting terrorism must be the nation's top priority, he said, adding that France "will remain a country of liberty and culture" and "never give in to fear."

  • A source tells Reuters that the raid on the Saint-Denis apartment was launched after investigators found a cellphone in a garbage can outside the Bataclan concert hall, with a map of the area and a text message saying: "Let's go."
  • Abaaoud was believed to have orchestrated the attacks from inside Syria, and it would be what the Washington Post calls a "startling turn of events" if he did indeed manage to slip back into Europe while being hunted by multiple intelligence agencies.
  • The man whose apartment was at the center of the operation claims a friend asked him to put the guests up and he had no idea who they were. "Someone asked me to put two people up for three days and I did them a favor, it's normal," he told French TV channel BFMTV, per ITV. "I don't know where they came from, I don't know anything. If I'd known, do you think I'd have done it?"