25 Nov 2015

Paris ringleader returned to crime scene

11:05 am on 25 November 2015

The suspected ringleader of the deadly Paris attacks was near the Bataclan theatre when terrorists opened fire on concert-goers, French prosecutors say.

An undated picture purportedly showing  27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, taken from a February 2015 issue of Islamic State (IS) online magazine Dabiq.

An undated picture purportedly showing 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, taken from Islamic State (IS) online magazine Dabiq. Photo: AFP / HO / DABIQ

Prosecutor Francois Molins said mobile phone data also showed Abdelhamid Abaaoud returned to cafes and restaurants targeted by gunmen in the attacks.

He added there was evidence that Abaaoud was planning an attack on Paris's La Defense business district.

The 13 November co-ordinated attacks, in which terrorists used firearms and explosives at different sites around the French capital, left 130 people dead.

Yesterday, an arrest warrant was issued in Belgium for a man named Mohamed Abrini over the attacks.

Mr Molins gave more details of the raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis in which Abaaoud was killed.

As well as Abaaoud and his cousin Hasna Ait Boulahcen, a third unidentified man died in that raid. Mr Molins said it is believed he was the third attacker in the team that attacked bars and restaurants in the 10th and 11th arrondissements.

Jawad Bendaoud, the man who lent the Saint-Denis flat, has been put under formal investigation for "criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist enterprise".

Also on Tuesday, Belgian prosecutors said that two days before the attacks, new suspect Mohamed Abrini was seen driving a car with suspect Salah Abdeslam at a petrol station on the motorway to Paris.

Abrini is described as "dangerous and probably armed".

Salah Abdeslam is currently the subject of an international manhunt after the attacks which killed 130 people.

The Renault Clio that Abrini was seen driving was later used in the attacks, prosecutors say.

Police say he should not be approached by the public.


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