Third body recovered following St. Denis raid in Paris

French prosecutor’s office announces that third body was recovered following St. Denis police raid in Paris on Oct. 18

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

An exterior view of the house where terrorists were hiding and a police operation against terrorists took place in Saint Denis, a northern suburb of Paris on November 18, 2015.

A French official has confirmed that three people died in Wednesday's police raid on an apartment in Saint-Denis, Paris.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, accused of being the mastermind behind last week’s Paris attacks, was killed in the operation, the city’s chief prosecutor said Friday.

"Yesterday night a female body, whose identity remains unconfirmed, was found at the apartment," Francois Molins said in a statement.

"Three people have been killed in the raid, including Abaaoud; the two other bodies are still unidentified," read the statement.

The prosecutor’s office also said a handbag was retrieved from the scene "where investigators had found a passport in the name of Hasna Aitboulahcen."

Aitboulahcen, Abaaoud's cousin, has been described as the female suicide bomber in Europe.

Abaaoud’s remains were identified on Thursday; he was killed during a seven-hour stand-off with police in the north Paris suburb.

The 27-year-old was identified as the possible mastermind of the attacks within hours of Friday night’s killings.

He had been thought to be in Syria but French authorities launched Wednesday's raid after having been led there by a tip-off and telephone surveillance suggesting Abaaoud was in France.

He had been linked to a number of terror attacks, including a shooting at a Jewish museum in Brussels in May last year that killed four plus a foiled attack on a Paris-bound train in August this year.

Abaaoud is also suspected by the Belgian authorities of helping to organize and fund a terror cell in eastern Belgium that was targeted in a police raid in January.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Belgian court earlier this year after being tried in absentia for recruiting for Daesh.

The attacks in the French capital saw at 129 people killed.

Speaking to France Info on Friday, national police chief Jean-Marc Falcone said that all security forces "are working together" in the hunt for Salah Abdeslam.

"We are working together and sharing information every day. There is a real collaboration between the services; no one is working alone, that would be unacceptable."

However, he said co-operation at the European level was "not working well enough, it’s not advanced enough, not integrated enough."

He added that further raids were carried out yesterday.

"As we have said before, as we close one door, we open another. We will continue to carry out raids if the investigation uncovers individuals who took part in any way in the preparation for these attacks, or individuals who could eventually carry out these attacks in the coming days or weeks," Falcone said.

According to an Interior Ministry statement released late Wednesday, police have conducted 414 raids under emergency powers since Sunday night, leading to 60 arrests and 75 weapons seizures.