Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Mastermind of Paris Attack Identified — French Round Up Suspects

A Belgian national currently in Syria and believed to be one of Islamic State’s most active operators is suspected of being behind Friday’s attacks in Paris, acccording to a source close to the French investigation.

“He appears to be the brains behind several planned attacks in Europe,” the source told Reuters of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, adding he was investigators’ best lead as the person likely behind the killing of at least 129 people in Paris on Friday.

According to RTL Radio, Abaaoud is a 27 year-old from the Molenbeek suburb of Brussels, home to other members of the militant Islamist cell that carried out the attacks.

In February of this year, Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq carried an interview with an Islamist bearing that name and boasting of having traveled through Europe unnoticed by security forces to organize attacks and procure weapons.

Abaaoud was also named in various media last year as the elder brother of a 13-year-old boy who left Belgium to become a child-fighter in Syria.

French police made 23 arrests and seized assault rifles and drugs in a nationwide overnight sweep on suspected Islamist militants following Friday’s attacks, the government said.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 168 homes were raided in France’s major cities and elsewhere, and 104 people had been put under house arrest in the last 48 hours.

Police seized 31 firearms as well as computer hard drives and telephones, and illegal drugs were found in 18 of the raids, Cazeneuve told journalists.

One Islamist militant suspected of arms and drugs dealing was found to have Kalashnikov assault rifles, automatic handguns and bullet proof vests.

In one raid on the house of the parents of a suspect, police found military fatigues and a rocket launcher in addition to more bullet proof vests and automatic handguns.

“We know that more attacks are being prepared, not just against France but also against other European countries,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on RTL radio.

Cazeneuve said police were making rapid progress in their investigation into a wave of shootings and suicide bombings in Paris which left 129 people dead.

“We are making use of the legal framework of the state of emergency to question people who are part of the radical jihadist movement … and all those who advocate hate of the republic,” Valls said.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.