19 Nov 2015

Paris terror: suspected mastermind killed

The suspected mastermind of the Paris terror attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, has been killed in a police raid.

The Paris prosecutor said the 28-year-old Belgian Islamist, who had boasted of mounting attacks in Europe for Islamic State, was found dead in a flat in the Saint Denis area of the capital which was raided by police yesterday.

He had earlier said that another terrorist plot had been averted in the raids, with a woman suicide bomber blowing herself up as police searched for Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

Sources said police had prevented an attack on the Paris business district, La Defense, and Charles de Gaulle airport.

Chemical attack

Before the dramatic announcement, the French prime minister said there was a risk that Islamist extremists could mount a chemical attack on the country following the Paris shootings and bombings.

Making the case for an extension of emergency powers introduced after Friday’s attacks, Manuel Valls told parliament: “We must not rule anything out… we know and bear in mind that there is also a risk of chemical or bacteriological weapons. The macabre imagination of the masterminds is limitless.”

‘The Belgians just aren’t up to it’

French President Francois Hollande said the co-ordinated suicide bombings and shootings, that killed at least 129 people, had been planned in Belgium.

French media have quoted an intelligence source as saying: “The Belgians just aren’t up to it.”

In Belgium, where police today raided several properties in the Brussels area, Prime Minister Charles Michel rejected criticism of his country’s security services following the attacks.

He told parliament laws would be introduced to jail jihadists returning from Syria, ban hate preachers and shut unregistered places of worship.

The notorious Brussels suburb of Molenbeek is at the centre of investigations into the attacks after it was confirmed that at least two of the terrorists had been living there.

Investigators believe the worst atrocity to hit France since the Second World War was planned in Syria, with Islamist cells in Belgium behind the violence.