The prosecutor said Abaaoud’s body had been formally identified using skin samples taken from the Saint-Denis apartment. The Belgian-born Islamic State operative is believed to have orchestrated the Paris attacks that killed 129 people and wounded over 300.
“The brain or one of the brains — we have to be extremely careful — was found among the dead,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the French national assembly Thursday. Valls praised the security services for tracking down Abaaoud. “I want to acknowledge the outstanding work of our intelligence services and the police,” he said..
Abaaoud’s cousin, Hasna Aitboulahcen, was the woman who blew herself up during the raid, police sources reported. Eight people were taken in custody during the assault which was carried by 110 agents.
Police had been hunting for Abaaoud for months — he was sentenced in July to 20 years in prison in Brussels for recruiting Jihadists in Belgium (including his own 14-year old brother) to go to Syria; he was also the alleged supervisor of the attempted attack against Belgian police stations in Verviers in January and was believed to be linked to the aborted terror assault in the Thalys and Villejuif church earlier this year, according to Le Figaro.
France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that Abaaoud was implicated in no less than four out of the six terror attacks which were prevented or aborted by French services since this spring.
The Belgian Jihadist was initially thought to be in Syria but Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said the French intelligence services had “elements that led them to think that Abaaoud was hiding in an apartment (in Saint-Denis),” BFMTV reported.
The prime suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, another Belgian terrorist from Molenbeek, is still on the run.