Father of Paris attacker would 'have killed' son if he knew of plot

9th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

A third gunman involved in last month's massacre at a Paris concert hall was identified Wednesday as a Frenchman who had visited Syria, with his father saying he "would have killed him" if he had known his plans.

Foued Mohamed-Aggad, 23, blew himself up at the end of the bloodiest of the attacks on the French capital in which 90 young music lovers were killed at the Bataclan concert hall.

"I would have killed him myself beforehand," his father, Said Mohamed-Aggad, told AFP after French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced the name of the assailant.

"I have no words, I only found out this morning," he said.

The assailant's mother went to the police after receiving a text message from Syria at the end of last month, her lawyer Francoise Cotta told AFP.

"Your son died a martyr with his brothers on November 13," read the message, apparently sent by Foued's wife in Syria.

The two other Bataclan attackers -- Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29, and former Paris bus driver Samy Amimour, 28 -- were also French-born and had been to Syria.

Mohamed-Aggad's brother, who went to Syria with him in 2013 but returned to France in May, is currently in prison awaiting trial on terror charges.

Cotta said Karim Mohamed-Aggad "wanted to come home because he couldn't take it there," but Foued told his mother he was "married and very happy and had just had a child".

"For him there was no question of coming back to France. He said he wanted to die as a suicide bomber in Iraq. The family had not heard from him since August," she added.

But after getting the text message, his mother was "terror-struck by the idea that he could have been one of suicide attackers at the Bataclan" so she went straight to the police, the lawyer said.

"If she had not helped like that, they might never have been able to identify Foued," Cotta said.

- On police radar -

Two of the Bataclan assailants, including Mohamed-Aggad, blew themselves up with suicide belts packed with explosives after the killing spree, while the third was shot dead by police who stormed the venue with hundreds of people still inside.

Mohamed-Aggad was identified at the end of last week after his DNA matched a sample offered by his mother, Cotta said.

A neighbour in the small town of Wissembourg, north of Strasbourg, told AFP that Mohamed-Aggad had lived with his mother -- who was estranged from his father -- until his departure for Syria.

He had also been on the radar of French security services as a potential extremist, a judicial source said, and had probably travelled to Syria on false papers.

Most of the group from Strasbourg who went to Syria with him were arrested on their return to the city in May 2014 and are all still being held on terror charges.

But Mohamed-Aggad stayed on, according to a source close to the investigation.

His brother Karim told police he was the last of the group to "succeed in getting away" and that "he was worried about his brother who stayed on after his wife arrived", fearing he would be "held to account for the departure of the rest of the group".

- Others 'killed fighting' -

Investigators believe two brothers from the same group who left Strasbourg in 2013, Mourad and Yassine Boudjellal, were killed fighting for IS in Syria.

Those who returned told investigators they were horrified by what they had witnessed.

All claimed to have gone to do humanitarian work but prosecutors believe they intended to fight for IS, which claimed responsibility for the carnage in Paris.

A huge manhunt is still under way for one of the suspects in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, a French national who has been living in Belgium and whose brother Brahim blew himself up outside a café-bar. Three other suspected accomplices are also still at large.

Police suspect the Strasbourg group had been recruited by Mourad Fares, a 31-year-old Frenchman considered a key online recruiter for IS, who was arrested in August 2014 in Turkey before being handed over to French authorities.

Nearly 1,500 people were watching Californian band Eagles of Death Metal play at the Bataclan when the gunmen opened fire. A further 40 people were killed in a string of coordinated attacks in and around Paris on the same evening.


© 2015 AFP

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