Belgian-born Abedlhamid Abaaud 'identified as mastermind in Paris attacks
17 November 2015
French officials have identified the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks as Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, AP reported yesterday. Abaaoud is reportedly in Syria.
The homes of suspected Islamist militants were raided by French police following the Paris attacks.
According to prosecutors, one of the killers had been stopped and fingerprinted in Greece last month, which fuelled speculation that the Islamic State used the recent influx of refugees fleeing the Middle East to slip militants into Europe.
The Paris carnage, which left 129 people dead, had led to calls for the EU to close its borders to asylum seekers.
Prime minister Manuel Valls warned France of fresh violence but said the Islamic State, which had claimed responsibility for the attacks in retaliation for French airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, would never win.
Interior minister Bernard Caseneve told journalists yesterday police have arrested 23 people and seized arms including rocket launchers in 168 raids overnight. He added another 104 people had been placed under house arrest.
"Let this be clear to everyone, this is just the beginning, these actions are going to continue," Cazeneuve said.
The investigation into the worst atrocity in France since World War II, led swiftly to Belgium after police discovered that two of the cars used by the militants had been rented in the Brussels region.
Meanwhile, Belgian authorities have arrested Salah Abdeslam, a Frenchman wanted in connection with the Paris attacks, in Brussels, Belgium.
The 28-year-old, who is considered to be one of the main operators of Islamic state, was taken alive in an operation by Belgian special forces in Molenbeek, Belgian broadcaster RTL reported.
The following details are known about the attackers so far:
- Brahim Abdeslam, 31 died near the Bataclan concert hall.
- Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29, from near Paris - died in Bataclan attack while, 20-year-old Bilal Hadfi, died at Stade de France.
- Suicide bomber at Bataclan, Samy Amimour 28, from near Paris.
- Another man who died at Stade de France, had a passport bearing the name of Ahmad Al Mohammad, 25, from Idlib, Syria.
- Police are looking for Salah Abdseslam, 26, brother of Brahim Abdeslam.
- Brother of Brahim Abdseslam, reportedly arrested in Belgium