Suspected mastermind of Paris attacks Abaaoud died in police raid - prosecutor

Reuters

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An undated file photograph of a man described as Abdelhamid Abaaoud that was published in the Islamic State's online magazine Dabiq and posted on a social media website. An undated file photograph of a man described as Abdelhamid Abaaoud that was published in the Islamic State's online magazine Dabiq and posted on a social media website.

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The suspected mastermind of the attacks that killed 129 in Paris was among those killed in a police raid in a suburb of the French capital on Wednesday, the Paris prosecutor said in a statement on Thursday.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 28-year-old Belgian militant, who had boasted of mounting attacks in Europe for the Islamic State, was accused of orchestrating Friday's coordinated bombings and shootings.
Police originally thought he was in Syria, but their investigations led them to a house in the Paris suburb of St. Denis and heavily armed officers stormed the building before dawn, triggering a massive firefight and multiple explosions.
"Abdel Hamid Abaaoud has just been formally identified, after comparing fingerprints, as having been killed during the (police) raid," the statement said. "It was the body we had discovered in the building, riddled with bullets."

FACTBOX - The hunt for the Paris attackers

Here's what we know about the attackers who died in Friday's attacks on Paris and Wednesday's police assault in Saint-Denis, north of the capital, as well as others key to investigations.
SUMMARY OF KEY EVENTS Nov 13:
Seven dead assailants, not all named, played direct roles in the Nov. 13 attacks: 3 at the Bataclan hall, 3 outside the Stade de France stadium, 1 in cafe killings. Nov 18: At least two people died and 8 were arrested in a Nov. 18 police assault on a building in Saint-Denis. A statement from the office of French public prosecutor Francois Molins on Thursday said that a body identified was that of prime suspect Abaaoud. Abaaoud, 28, the suspected mastermind of the attacks, grew up in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, but vanished in 2013 and showed up in Syria. Local media say he was jailed for robbery in 2010 and spent time in prison alongside Salah Abdeslam (below). His possible presence in the Saint-Denis flat was part of the reason for the Nov 18. police assault. Up until Wednesday, Abaaoud was believed to be in Syria.
ON THE RUN/UNACCOUNTED FOR:
Salah Abdeslam, 26, French, born in Brussels, Sept. 15, 1989. Source: notice published by French police/police sources. Suspected of having rented black VW Polo car used in attacks in Paris. Lawyer Xavier Carette told Belgian broadcaster RTBF that Abdeslam returned from Paris to Brussels on Saturday morning after being stopped by French police three times along the way. His brother, Brahim, was killed in the attack (below). OTHER DEAD:
Ismail Omar Mostefai, 29 (born Nov. 21, 1985), Frenchman of Algerian descent involved in Nov 13. Bataclan attack, lived for a time in Chartres area, southwest of Paris. Born in Courcouronnes, south of Paris. Source: prosecutor's office/judiciary sources. Name was put on French intelligence services' "S notice" in 2010 for reported radicalisation. An unnamed senior Turkish government official says Turkey contacted France about Mostefai in December 2014 and June 2015 but only got a return request for information on him after the Paris attacks.. Members of his family were released from custody after questioning.
Samy Amimour, 28 (born Oct. 15, 1987), involved in Nov 13. Bataclan attack. French, from Drancy near Saint Denis, north of Paris. Subject of international arrest warrant since late 2013. Had been under official investigation since October 2012 on suspicion of terrorism-related activity over a plan to go to Yemen. Source: Paris prosecutor's office statement.
Brahim Abdeslam, 31 (born July 30, 1984), French, resident of Belgium. Blew himself up at Comptoir Voltaire cafe in Paris in the Nov. 13 attack. Brother of Salah and Mohamad Abdeslam. Source: French judiciary. Bilal Hadfi, 20 (born Jan 22, 1995). Involved in Nov. 13 Stade de France attack. Source: French judiciary. Other: Suicide bomber involved in Stade de France attack. Passport found beside this dead body carries name of Ahmad Al Mohammad, 25, (born Sept. 10 1990), from Idlib, northwest Syria. Passport is being checked but fingerprints match up with print of a person registered under that name as arriving in Greece in October 2015. Source: French prosecutor's office. Other: Possible third, unnamed, suicide bomber who died in Nov 13 Stade de France attacks. Source: police notice asking people to help identify the person in a photo.
Woman who allegedly blew herself up during the Nov. 18 police assault on the flat in Saint-Denis. Source: Paris prosecutor. Woman's first name may be Hasna Ait Boulahcenis and she may be a cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, according to a source close to case.
BROADER SWEEPS:
France Eight were taken into custody in the Nov. 18 raid, of whom three were pulled from the targeted flat and two more from the rubble of building where the flat was located. Another three were arrested in the vicinity: the man believed to have provided the flat, a woman who was with him and another man.
Police have taken 60 people into custody and put a further 118 under house arrest after more than 400 raids as of Wednesday in broader sweeps on suspected Islamist militants; arms finds during searches came to 87 weapons including 11 military-grade weapons, long rifles and handguns. Source: interior ministry statement and Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
Belgium Two of seven people arrested in Nov. 14 raids were detained on terrorism charges. Lawyer Carette told RTBF his client Mohammad Amri and a friend were unwitting accomplices who knew nothing about any role in attacks when Amri drove Salah Abdeslam back from Paris to Brussels. Mohammad Abdeslam, brother of Salah and Brahim (dead), was among five released after preliminary questioning. Police searched another six addresses on Nov. 19 in relation to the Paris attacks and detained one. Much of the focus is on Molenbeek, a poor Brussels district that is home to many Muslim immigrants.

A forensic expert on Thursday outside the building that was raided a day earlier in St.-Denis, a suburb north of Paris. Photo: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

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