French officials identify mastermind of Paris blasts

French authorities identify suspected mastermind of Friday’s Paris blasts as Belgian national Abdelhamid Abaaoud, as well as the identities of two attackers

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

This undated image taken from a Militant Website on Monday Nov. 16, 2015 showing Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

French prosecutors on Monday identified Belgian national Abdelhamid Abaaoud as the mastermind behind Friday’s Paris terror attacks, as well as the identities of two of the attackers.

The first attacker was identified as Samy Amimour, 28, who was involved in the massacre of 89 people in the Bataclan concert hall, officials said.

The second held a Syrian passport carrying the name of Ahmad Al Mohammad. However, authorities stated that the authenticity of the document has not been confirmed.

French police also issued an arrest warrant for Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French national born in Belgium, suspected of being linked to Friday night’s terror attacks in Paris. He was described by the authorities as "dangerous."

He had already been identified as the renter of two cars with Belgian number plates used in the attack and one of three brothers believed to have been involved in the terror attacks.

According to the French government, one of his two brothers - Ibrahim Abdeslam - was a suicide bomber and died during the attacks while the second, Mohamed, was arrested in Belgium.

However on Monday, the authorities released five out of the seven suspects who were arrested in the weekend,including Mohamed, prosecutors confirmed.

Mohamed was freed "without being charged," a spokesman for the prosecutor told the Agence France Presse news agency.

Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29, was also identified earlier by French media as one of the suicide attackers. Six members of his family, including his brother, father and sister-in-law, are currently under police custody in France.

In response to the deadly Paris attacks claimed by DAESH, French warplanes struck the terrorist group's main stronghold in Syria, the city of Raqqa, on Sunday evening, the French Defence Ministry said.

In the meantime, French police conducted more than 170 raids on suspects’ homes mainly in the region of Lyon on Sunday, and made 23 arrests, the interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

The interior minister added that a total of 31 weapons have been seized, including a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, bulletproof vests and handguns.

The raids also streched out to Toulouse, Grenoble, Jeumont and the Paris suburb of Bobigny, under the state of emergency announced by President Francois Hollande.

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

In addition, Cazeneuve said that a total of 104 people have been placed under house arrest since Paris attacks.

Prime Minister Valls warned on Monday of more potential attacks in the wake of Friday night's atrocities in Paris.

"We know that more attacks are being prepared, not just against France but also against other European countries," he said.

According to the reports of AFP, Brussels prosecutor has stated that the police operation to capture suspect Salah Abdeslam is now over and no arrest has been made, also Molenbeek mayor reported that blockade in Brussels neighborhood’s is over and no one has been injured.

TRTWorld and agencies