Paris attacks probe: what we know so far

21st March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Here is a summary of latest developments in the probe into the November 13 terror attacks in Paris:

- The attacks -

Seven suicide bombers and gunmen blew themselves up or were killed by police in attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade de France national stadium and a string of bars and restaurants around eastern Paris on the night of November 13 2016.

The coordinated assaults left 130 people dead and 350 wounded.

Five days later, the suspected ringleader, 28-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, died in a police raid on a flat in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis along with another suspect, Chakrib Akrouh.

The last surviving member of the suspected 10-member jihadist team directly involved in the assault, Salah Abdeslam, was arrested last Friday.

- Salah Abdeslam -

A French national of Moroccan origin, Abdeslam, 26 is believed to have played a key logistical role, renting cars and an apartment-hotel used by the jihadists.

His role on the night has been one of the biggest mysteries, as he fled to his hometown Brussels while his brother, Brahim, and other members of the team, committed suicide.

Abdeslam made it through three police checks on his way out of France, sparking a massive manhunt that ended with his capture in Brussels more than four months later.

Abdeslam has told investigators he planned to blow himself up outside the Stade de France but changed his mind.

Prosecutors remain cautious: Abdeslam's version does not explain why he abandoned his car in the 18th district of Paris that night -- which was not hit despite a claim by the Islamic State that it had been targeted.

Abdeslam has also told investigators he was planning further attacks in Brussels.

Belgian police stumbled upon the fugitive by chance, finding his fingerprints at the scene of a raid in the Brussels suburb of Forest last Tuesday, which then led to the operation in the district of Molenbeek on Friday in which he was captured. Another Paris-linked suspect died in the gun battle in Forest with police and two other people escaped in the earlier raid.

- Stadium bombers -

The coordinated attacks began when three men -- dropped off by Abdeslam -- blew themselves up outside the Stade de France where President Francois Hollande was watching a friendly match between France and Germany.

Only one of that trio has been identified: Bilal Hadfi, a 20-year-old French national who was living in Belgium and who had also travelled to Syria.

The other two were carrying fake Syrian passports they apparently used to enter Greece in October, posing as refugees.

- Bars/restaurants gunmen -

As police and emergency services rushed to the stadium, chaos erupted in hip eastern Paris as group of three gunmen, including alleged ringleader Abaaoud, drove around spraying cafes and restaurants with bullets.

Brahim Abdeslam eventually blew himself up outside a bar, injuring one person.

Abaaoud, a notorious Belgian jihadist of Moroccan origin, escaped unharmed but was killed in the massive police operation in Saint-Denis on November 18.

The third gunman, Belgian-Moroccan Chakib Akrouh, 25, blew himself up during the Saint-Denis operation. Abaaoud's 26-year-old French-born cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen, who helped him hide after the attacks, was also killed in that operation.

- Bataclan attackers -

The worst bloodshed took place at the Bataclan concert hall, when three French gunmen -- all of whom had spent time in Syria -- stormed a concert by American rock band Eagles of Death Metal, killing 90 concert-goers.

Twenty-three-year-old Foued Mohamed-Aggad was part of a group of 10 that left Strasbourg for Syria in 2013. He was identified after his DNA was matched with that of his mother.

The other two attackers were 28-year-old former bus driver Samy Amimour and Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29. Both were from the Paris area and were known radicals.

Two of them blew themselves up and the third was shot by police.

- Wanted -

Belgian prosecutors on Monday identified a man on the wanted list as Najim Laachraoui, 24. A source close to the French investigation said his DNA had been found on explosives used in the assault.

Previously known under the false name of Soufiane Kayal, Laachraoui "travelled to Syria in February 2013," the prosecutors said in a statement.

He used the name of Kayal at the border between Austria and Hungary on September 9 when he was travelling with Abdeslam and Mohamed Belkaid. Belkaid was killed in the Brussels raid three days before Abdeslam was captured.

Another wanted man is Mohamed Abrini, a 30-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin who appears in CCTV footage with Abdeslam two days before the attacks. He was seen at a petrol station north of Paris with Salah Abdeslam, with Abrini driving one of the vehicles used in the assaults.

- Charged -

Belgian authorities have so far charged 11 suspects, including three men accused of helping Abdeslam escape.

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© 2016 AFP

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