Mastermind of Paris terror attacks killed in raid

After conflicting reports, French authorities have finally confirmed that they have killed the leader behind the deadly Paris terror attacks.

By: AP
French SWAT forces during the morning Saint-Denis raid. (AP/Francois Mori)

French SWAT forces during the morning Saint-Denis raid. (AP/Francois Mori)

The Belgian jihadi suspected of masterminding the deadly attacks in Paris was killed along with his cousin in a police raid on a suburban apartment building, officials confirmed Thursday.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins’ office said 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud was identified based on skin samples.

Authorities did not establish exactly how he died. His body was found in the apartment building targeted in the chaotic and bloody raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis on Wednesday.

Three police officials say a woman who died in the raid was Abaaoud’s cousin. One said Hasna Aitboulahcen is believed to have detonated a suicide vest after a brief conversation with police officers.

The official confirmed an audio recording, punctuated by gunshots, in which an officer asks: “Where is your boyfriend?” and she responded angrily: “He’s not my boyfriend!” Then loud bangs are heard.

The exact relationship between Abaaoud and Aitboulahcen was not clear.

The bodies recovered in the raid were badly mangled, with a part of Aitboulahcen’s spine landing on a police car, complicating formal identification, according to one of the officials.

Police launched the operation after receiving information from tapped phone calls, surveillance and tipoffs suggesting that Abaaoud was holed up there. Eight people were arrested in the raid.

French authorities declared a state of emergency after the attacks, and security forces have conducted 414 raids, making 60 arrests and seizing 75 weapons, including 11 military-style firearms, the Interior Ministry said. Parliament was expected to vote by the end of the week to extend the state of emergency.

It also continued with its airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

The Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization claimed responsibility for last Friday’s attacks in Paris that killed at least 132 and wounded some 350 in multiple and simultaneous terror attacks.