A female suicide bomber detonated her vest and killed herself as French police conducted a raid in a Paris suburb in search for the mastermind of last weekend’s deadly assault in the French capital. Police also killed the mastermind of the Paris attacks and detained seven suspects during the raid.
French police raided an apartment in Paris’ Saint-Denis neighborhood early in the morning after receiving intelligence that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian national who is suspected of plotting the Nov. 13 suicide assault that killed at least 129 people, was there, according to France24.
The woman, who is has not been identified, opened fire on police and then set off what is thought to be an explosive vest. The other militant, who Paris prosecutor François Molins described to The New York Times as a “terrorist,” and later confirmed to be Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed by a combination of wounds suffered from the shootout and detonating a grenade.
French police also captured seven other suspects: “three in the apartment, two found ‘hiding in the rubble,’ and two others outside the apartment,” according to The New York Times.
The clash between French special police and soldiers and the suspected Islamic State fighters lasted for nearly seven hours before ending in the late morning. Five policemen were wounded and a police dog were killed during the gunfire and explosions, AFP reported.
Abaaoud, who is thought to have masterminded the Paris suicide assault, was later confirmed to have been killed in the shootout in Paris.
“Abdelhamid Abaaoud has just been formally identified as having been killed during the raid” the prosecutor’s office reported in a statement, AFP noted.
Police and intelligence services in France and throughout Europe were searching for Abaaoud, who previously set up an Islamic State terror cell in Belgium that was raided in January 2015. Belgium police killed Abuz Zubayr al Baljiki and Abu Khalid al Baljiki, two members of his cell, in a raid their safe house in Verviers, but Abaaoud escaped the dragnet and returned to Syria to rejoin the Islamic State.
The Islamic State featured Abaaoud in issue number seven of Dabiq, its English language magazine. In that issue, the jihadist mocked Western police and intelligence services for failing to prevent him from establishing a cell and then later failing to prevent him from escaping the country. [See LWJ report, Key suspect in Paris attacks has been featured in Islamic State propaganda.]
Editor’s note: this article has been updated to note that Abdelhamid Abaaoud’s death has been confirmed.
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