Paris attacks suspect Abaaoud may have been killed in raids

Media sources release reports saying Paris attacks ‘mastermind’ might have been killed in police raids, though Paris prosecutor did not confirm

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Members of French special police forces of the Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI) work at the scene of the raid in Saint-Denis, near Paris, France, November 18, 2015

Some media sources including The New York Times and Washington Post published reports late on Wednesday, in which two unnamed top officials from two different European countries are quoted as saying that the Belgian mastermind behind the Paris attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud might have been killed during the latest police raid.

At least 100 policemen and soldiers launched a seven-hour operation storming an apartment building in northern Paris suburb of Saint Denis. Eight suspects were arrested and two people were killed following gunfire exchange and a suicide bombing launched by Abaaoud’s cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen.

The operations took place in Saint-Denis came after French police found data containing a map of the Bataclan Concert Hall, the bloodiest scene of the consecutive attacks that had shaken the French Capital, and a message read “Let’s go, we’re starting” in a mobile phone which they found in a garbage near the concert hall.

In the phone’s data, there was also information about an apartment that was rented by another suspected attacker Salah Abdeslam.

The 27-year old Belgian citizen of Moroccan origin Abdelhamid Abaaoud is believed to be the planner of the attacks that hit Paris on November 13, leaving 129 people dead and at least 350 wounded.

There has been no official confirmation regarding the death of Abaaoud so far. 

During a press conference that was held early on Wednesday, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins stated that none of the bodies have been identified yet.

"I am not able to give you a definite number and the identities of the dead but there are at least two dead," Molins said.

"I can say that Abaaoud and Salah Abdeslam are not among those taken into detention."

According to media reports, French police have launched 414 raids across France in the last three days as part of its anti-terror operations, arresting 60 people.

TRTWorld and agencies