Mastermind of Paris Attacks Is Dead

Abaaoud identified; France says he led 4 of 6 foiled attacks since spring
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2015 1:16 AM CST
Updated Nov 19, 2015 8:00 AM CST
Forensic Teams Trying to ID Dead Paris Suspects
This undated image made available in the ISIS English-language magazine "Dabiq" shows Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud.   (Militant photo via AP)

He's dead: Authorities in Paris today said the man believed to have orchestrated the terror attacks on the City of Lights was killed in Wednesday's police raid, reports the AP. The city prosecutor said today that Abdel­hamid Abaaoud had been identified through skin samples; Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve later added that Abaaoud was believed to be responsible for four of six attacks the French have foiled since spring. A woman who blew herself up at the start of the raid may be Abaaoud's cousin, and had been wiretapped by security agencies, reports CNN. An audio recording captured her last moments, per the AP: An officer asks: "Where is your boyfriend?" and she responds angrily: "He's not my boyfriend!" Loud explosions or bangs are then heard.

The head of a special forces unit, speaking to Le Figaro, explained why the bodies weren't easy to identify, the AP reports. He says that when officers entered the building, one of the bodies fell from the third floor to the second floor. "The corpse was mutilated, probably from grenades, and he wasn't recognizable," he says. "Other people were in the stairwell, two men hiding under blankets and whatever they could find. We arrested them." Prior to the raid, Abaaoud was believed to have been in Syria, notes Reuters, but intelligence revealed that he had slipped back into France undetected. At a Wednesday press conference, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said the terror cell had been preparing to carry out a fresh attack. Five police officers were injured during the operation and a police dog was killed. (Abaaoud's own family may be celebrating news of his death.)

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