Paris Attacks: Police identify one attacker
The Islamic State group has claimed the carnage carried out at some of the French capital’s most popular nightspots, including a sold-out concert hall, restaurants and bars and outside France’s national stadium.
The seven attackers — six blew themselves up and one was shot by police — are the first to ever carry out suicide bombings on French soil and, unlike those who killed 17 in Paris in January, were unknown to security services.
Investigators in France, Belgium, Greece and Germany are now trying to find out who these men were, how they carried out such a vast coordinated attack, and why.
Police have identified one of the gunmen who blew himself up at the Bataclan concert hall, the scene of the bloodiest attack where 89 people were killed, as 29-year-old Paris native Omar Ismail Mostefai.
Six people close to him, including his father and 34-year-old brother, have been taken into custody by police. A source close to the probe said investigators were searching the homes of friends and relatives of the killer.
Mostefai, whose identity was confirmed using a severed fingertip, was known as being close to radical Islam, but had never been linked to terrorism.
Police said the attackers appeared to be “seasoned, at first sight, and well trained” and were investigating whether they had ever been to fight in Syria, where IS has proclaimed a caliphate along with territory in neighbouring Iraq.
A black Seat car used by some of the gunmen has been found in the eastern suburb of Montreuil, police sources told AFP early on Sunday.
Belgian police have arrested several people over links to the Paris attacks in a huge sweep, including one who was allegedly in the French capital at the time of the attacks.
Justice Minister Koen Geens said the arrests were in connection with a grey Polo that had been rented in Belgium that was found near the Bataclan concert hall.
The arrests — local media said three people had been detained — took place in the poor Brussels district of Molenbeek that has been linked to several other terror plots in Europe.
Police in Belgium, which has the highest number of citizens per-capita who have gone to fight for IS in Europe, have opened a formal terrorism investigation.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins separately said one of the vehicles used in Friday’s attacks was registered in Belgium and hired by a French national living there.
Witnesses in Paris said some attackers arrived in a car with Belgian plates.
Greek authorities have confirmed that a passport found next to one of the assailants belonged to a man who registered as a refugee on the island of Leros in October.
Greek police are not ruling out that the passport had changed hands before the attacks.
They are also checking on the fingerprints of another man at the request of French investigators.
If the passport or fingerprints are matched to the attackers then it would mean they had hidden among the thousands of people that have fled Islamic State and Syria’s civil war to seek refuge in Europe.
German police arrested a man on November 5 after machine-guns, handguns and explosives were found in his vehicle during a routine check on a motorway.
Bavaria’s state premier Horst Seehofer said there was a reason to believe he had links to the attackers, and that the case “shows how important it is for us to have some clarity on who is in our country”.
But Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere rejected the link, and made an “urgent plea to avoid drawing such swift links to the situation surrounding refugees”.
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