Shocking depravity of the Paris terror mastermind: Sick video shows jihadist behind French atrocities LAUGHING as he drags the corpses of his Syrian victims behind his truck
- Mastermind behind the Paris massacres is believed to be ISIS executioner and recruiter Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27,
- Vile footage has emerged of Abaaoud toying with bodies of his victims in Syria by dragging them behind his truck
- He is from an area of Brussels known as the ‘Jihad capital of Europe’ and a ‘den of terrorists’ because of terror links
- French police are hunting Salah Abdeslam, 26, whose brother Ibrahim was a bomber. Sibling Mohammed in custody
- Anti-terror police held ‘getaway driver’ Salah on Belgian border in hours after the attack but he was released
- Ahmed Almohammad, 25, believed have joined Bataclan terror squad after sneaking into Europe posed as a migrant
- Homegrown terrorist Omar Ismaël Mostefai, 29, and former ISIS fighter Bilal Hadfi named as suicide bombers
- Suspect called Samy Aminour, 28, believed to have been a Bataclan attacker, identified after a raid on Paris flats
- French attacks have left 129 dead and 352 injured – 96 of which are in a critical condition. 30 dead not yet identified
- See more of the latest news and updates on the terrorist attacks in Paris
Seen laughing mercilessly, toying with the corpses of his victims, this chilling footage shows the ISIS executioner believed to be the mastermind of the Paris terror attacks as he drags a huge pile of bodies behind his truck in Syria.
Today the vile extremist was named as Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, one of ISIS’ top recruiters and now among the world’s most wanted war criminals.
He is believed to have persuaded thousands of young jihadis to come to Syria, including his 13-year-old brother Younes, ISIS’ youngest fanatic.
In the video footage, Abaaoud is seen driving a pick-up truck with a mound of bloody corpses in tow. One of his accomplices sits perched on the back, while another can be heard complaining about the smell.
The ISIS extremists are seen smiling and joking as the bodies are driven towards what appears to be a mass grave, where they are thought to have been dumped.
In what is believed to be a reference to what pick-up trucks are commonly used for in the West, Abaaoud is heard saying how instead of towing jet skis and motorcycles he and his fellow ISIS fighters are dragging the ‘infidels who are fighting us’.
Public enemy number one: French police believe Belgian extremist Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, planned the Paris attacks from Syria
Sick: Bodies of Abaaoud’s victims in Syria are pictured tied to the extremist’s truck, seconds before he drives away and drags them along
Depraved: An accomplice is pictured smiling at the camera and pointing at the pile of bodies before the pair drive off in their truck
Abaaoud, who has regularly posed with bodies he decapitated and was seen in Greece in January but evaded arrest, was also linked to the thwarted high speed train attack earlier this year and church attacks around Paris. He is pictured dragging the bodies of victims in Syria
Abaaoud is pictured left in a still from the video, while a fellow ISIS extremist is seen right. The pair are seen in the depraved video footage
Sadistic: Abaaoud is seen laughing and joking as he mercilessly toys with the bodies of his victims, dragging them along in his truck
PARIS MASTERMIND WAS BEHIND OTHER EUROPEAN ATTACKS
Once a student at one of Brussels’ most prestigious high schools, Saint-Pierre d’Uccle, Abdelhamid Abaaoud morphed into Belgium’s most notorious jihadi, a zealot so devoted to the holy war that he recruited his 13-year-old brother to join him in Syria.
The child of Moroccan immigrants who grew up in the Belgian capital’s scruffy Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighbourhood, the fugitive in his late 20s was today identified by French authorities as the mastermind behind the Paris attacks.
Abaaoud is believed to have links to earlier terror attacks that were thwarted: one against a Paris-bound high-speed train that was foiled by three young Americans in August, and the other against a church in the French capital’s suburbs.
‘All my life, I have seen the blood of Muslims flow,’ Abaaoud said in a video made public in 2014. ‘I pray that Allah will break the backs of those who oppose him, his soldiers and his admirers, and that he will exterminate them.’
Belgian authorities suspect him of also helping organize and finance a terror cell in the eastern city of Verviers that was broken up in an armed police raid on January 15, in which two of his presumed accomplices were killed.
The following month, Abaaoud was quoted by the ISIS’ English magazine, Dabiq, as saying that he had secretly returned to Belgium to lead the terror cell and then escaped back to Syria despite having his picture published.
He said: ‘I was even stopped by an officer who contemplated me so as to compare me to the picture, but he let me go, as he did not see the resemblance’.
He says: ‘Before we towed jet skis, motorcycles, quad bikes, big trailers filled with gifts for vacation in Morocco. Now, thank God, following God’s path, we’re towing apostates, infidels who are fighting us.’
One of the extremists is thought to be moaning about having to drag the bodies another 50ft to the mass grave, suggesting the corpses are instead cut loose halfway across the field.
It is unclear exactly where in Syria the film was recorded.
Abaaoud’s own father reported him to the police for grooming his younger brother as an extremist as well as encouraging him to fake his own death and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in absentia by the Belgian courts this year.
He is from the Brussels district of Molenbeek, known as the ‘jihadi capital of Europe’, where the eight-strong killer squad who murdered 129 people in Paris on Friday are believed to have collected automatic weapons and suicide vests before driving into France in rented cars.
Abaaoud even featured in an online ISIS terror magazine Dabiq featuring his life as a Jihadi.
According to the interview, he traveled to Syria ‘to terrorise the crusaders waging war against the Muslims’.
He said: ‘Belgium is a member of the crusader coalition attacking the Muslims of Iraq and Sham (Syria).
Abaaoud claimed that in the past he returned to Belgium to set up a safe house to plan further raids across Europe.
He said his plot failed: ‘The kuffar raided the pace with more than 150 soldiers from both French and Belgian special forces units.’ He said both of his men were killed in the shootout.
He claimed it was after this, he returned to Syria due to the attentions of European security agencies.
French police have said Abaaoud planned the attack from his base in Syria with help in Belgium and France.
Abaaoud, who has regularly posed with bodies he decapitated and was seen in Greece in January but evaded arrest, was also linked to the thwarted high speed train attack earlier this year and church attacks around Paris.
Meanwhile Belgian police have launched a major anti-terror raid in Molenbeek this morning in an effort to capture Salah Abdeslam – but failed.
Abaaoud’s image became even grimmer after independent journalists Etienne Huver and Guillaume Lhotellier, visiting the Turkish-Syrian frontier and obtained photos and video last year of Abaaoud’s exploits across Syria.
The material included footage of him and his friends loading a pick-up truck and a makeshift trailer with a mound of bloodied corpses.
It came as one of the three ‘blood brothers’ behind the Paris massacre was allowed to go on the run after police let him go.
Frenchman Salah Abdeslam, 26, from Brussels, was stopped and then released by officers guarding the Belgian border hours after the attacks.
It appears that Belgian police have launched a major anti-terror raid in Molenbeek this morning in an effort to capture him, with some sources saying he may now be in custody.
Eyewitnesses reported that heavily-armed police sealed off a large area in the run-down working class district. Shots were fired according to Belgian media.
It is understood that one man has been arrested, although it has not been confirmed whether it is Abdeslam.
One of his brothers, Ibrahim Abdeslam, 31, was one of seven terrorists who died on Friday night after he blew himself up in a solo attack outside cafe Comptoir Voltaire.
He had rented a black Seat found yesterday in Paris packed with AK-47s and ammunition.
The third sibling, Mohammed Abdeslam, was in custody in Belgium last night after being arrested in a Brussels, where the ISIS terror cell may have met before the raid to gather automatic weapons and suicide vests.
Kingpin: Abaaoud fled Belgium for Syria and has become an ISIS executioner, recruiter and trainer and one of the world’s most wanted men
Family: Abaaoud has been fighting in Syria for several years and even recruited his own 13-year-old brother Younes, pictured, who was believed to be ISIS’ youngest fanatic
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the world’s most wanted war criminals, is pictured taking aim with a rifle in a photo taken earlier this year
Abdelhamid Abaaoudm, pictured, featured in a special edition of the ISIS terror magazine Dabiq which is distributed online
Terrorist: Abaaoud, pictured left and right, with Abu Izzam, even featured in an online ISIS terror magazine Dabiq about his life as a Jihadi
This morning French police identified a Bataclan bomber as homegrown terrorist Samy Aminour, 28, who was known to anti-terror officers in 2012 when he was prosecuted for trying to flee France to join Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen. A year later he slipped out of France to join ISIS in Syria.
French police have said homegrown terrorist Omar Ismaël Mostefai , 29, from Courcouronnes, Paris, was one of the Bataclan suicide bombers where 89 died.
A senior Turkish official says Mostefai was flagged as a terror suspect’ and notified French authorities in December 2014 and in June 2015 – but had no response from France until after the Paris attacks when it requested information on Mostefai.
The Bataclan killer entered Turkey in 2013 but authorities have no record of him leaving.
Belgian Bilal Hadfi, 20, who had spent time fighting with ISIS in Syria before returning to Europe, detonated his suicide vest at the Stade de France where one died along with three suicide bombers.
Stade de France suicide bomber Ahmed Almohammad traveled to France as an asylum seeker through Greece after being saved from a sinking ship.
Greek ferry tickets reveal he travelled to Europe with another man named as Mohammed Almuhamed.
French police questioned Salah Abdeslam, pictured, as he approached the Belgian border on Saturday morning in a car with two other men. Investigators in Paris knew at that stage Abdeslam had rented a VW Polo found abandoned near the scene of the concert massacre
Suspect: Belgian Bilal Hadfi, 20, left, detonated his suicide vest at the Stade de France, French bomber Omar Mostefai, centre, killed himself at the Bataclan and Samy Amimour, 28, was also involved in the gig attack
Wanted man: Serbian media says this is 25-year-old Ahmed Almohammad , left and right, whose Syrian passport is pictured, who blew himself up at the Stade de France, and is believed to have sneaked into France with another terrorist by posing as refugees from Syria
The band had just finished playing a number called Save A Prayer and — having told their raucous Parisian fans they loved them — they were launching into another favourite, Kiss The Devil, when the ISIS gunmen began their massacre. Above, the Bataclan concert hall after the attack
Raids: French anti-terror teams have smashed their way into homes across the country overnight and this has helped them uncover the identity of a fourth attacker, Samy Aminour, 28, as well as more weapons including a rocket launcher
PARIS MASSACRE: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT THE DEADLIEST TERROR ATTACK TO HIT EUROPE IN A DECADE
At least 129 people are dead, and another 352 injured, after three teams of jihadis struck the Stade de France football stadium, a handful of bars and cafes, and then finally the Bataclan concert hall.
FIRST TWO ATTACKS: STADE DE FRANCE
- The attacks began at 9.20pm at the Stade de France where the French football team was hosting Germany in an international friendly.
- The game was being watched by 80,000 spectators, among them was President Francois Hollande who had to be evacuated from the stadium.
- Ahmed Almohammad, 25, from Syria approached the stadium with a match ticket. He was turned away from Gate D after being frisked by a security guard.
- He backed away from the gate and detonated his vest, killing one other person. A passport was found near his body.
- A second suicide bomber, Bilal Hadfi, 20, blew himself up near Gate H at 9.30pm. No one else was reported killed. Hadfi is said to have fought with ISIS in Syria.
THIRD ATTACK: LE PETIT CAMBODGE AND LE CARILLON BAR
- At 9.25pm a separate team of gunmen arrived in a Black Seat and attacked diners at popular Cambodian restaurant Le Petit Cambodge and Le Carillon bar in the trendy Canal Saint-Martin area of eastern Paris, killing 15. The gunmen were using Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles.
Timeline of events: Eight terrorists carried out the devastating attacks on Friday night, leaving 129 people dead and another 352 injured
FOURTH ATTACK: LA CASA NOSTRA PIZZERIA AND LA BELLE EQUIPE BAR
- The same unit then drove about 500 yards to La Casa Nostra pizzeria and opened fire on diners on the terrace of the restaurant, killing at least five people.
- From there, the militants drove around a mile south-east – apparently past the area of the Bataclan concert venue – to launch another attack, this time on La Belle Equipe bar in Rue de Charonne. At least 19 people died after the terrace was sprayed with bullets at 9.36pm The attackers then drove off.
FIFTH ATTACK: CAFÉ ‘COMPTOIR VOLTAIRE’
- At 9.40pm, Ibrahim Abdeslam, 31, set off a suicide vest inside cafe ‘Comptoir Voltaire’ on the Boulevard Voltaire and close to the Bataclan theatre. He hired a black Seat car used in the attack, which was found later abandoned with three assault rifles, along with five full magazines. The killers had emptied 11 magazines, firing an estimated 330 rounds.
SIXTH ATTACK: BATACLAN MUSIC HALL
- At 9.40pm, the third group (believed to be three men and a woman) armed with AK-47s stormed the Bataclan music hall and began shooting members of the crowd. Survivors claim three blew themselves up and a fourth person was shot dead by police before they could detonate their bomb.
SEVENTH ATTACK: NEAR STADE DE FRANCE
- At around 10.15pm a third blast took place near the Stade de France, this time by a McDonald’s restaurant on the fringes of the stadium. The boom caused terror among spectators who had already been attempting to flee the stadium following the first two explosions. The attacker who detonated his suicide vest was identified as a 20-year-old French man living in Belgium.
Tearful members of the public view flowers and tributes on the pavement near the scene of the concert hall massacre on Friday
- On Saturday morning, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks across Paris, saying ‘eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles’ conducted a ‘blessed attack on… Crusader France’.
- On Saturday morning, the world’s most wanted man, Salah Abdeslam is stopped by French police along with two other men as he approached the Belgian border. He is released after he shows his ID and returns to the Jihadi hotspot of Molenbeek in Brussels where he vanishes.
- Belgian police launch several anti-terror raids after Abdeslam was identified as having rented a VW Polo used by the Bataclan killers which was found abandoned nearby.
- One of the Stade de France suspects was found carrying a Syrian passport under the name Ahmed Almohammad who travelled to France as a migrant through Greece on October 3. Ferry tickets reveal he travelled with another man named as Mohammed Almuhamed.
- However, the French minister of justice Christiane Taubira said on Sunday that the passport under the name Ahmed Almohammad was a fake.
- Omar Ismaël Mostefai, 29, from Courcouronnes, Paris was also named as a Bataclan suicide bomber. The petty criminal and father-of-one was known to police as a radical and had travelled to Algeria and Syria. He was identified by the fingerprint on a severed digit found after he detonated his suicide belt.
- Mostefai is believed to have been radicalised by a Belgian hate preacher of Moroccan descent claimed to have regularly preached at his mosque in South West France. His father, a brother and other family members have been held and are being questioned.
- The black Seat Leon used by the terrorists who murdered diners outside the Casa Nostra pizza restaurant and the La Belle Équipe cafe was found abandoned 20 minutes away in Montreuil with three AK-47s and 16 magazines – 11 of them empty.
- Seven people were detained in Belgium linked to the atrocities. Five are from the Molenbeek area of Brussels known as a ‘den of terrorists’.
- Five of those arrested, including Salah and Ibrahim Abdeslams’ brother Mohamed have been released without charge. Two others have been charged with unspecified terrorist offences.
- Iraqi spies warned the West of an ISIS suicide bomber threat the day before the Paris atrocities, it was revealed on Sunday, as more details of major intelligence failures began to emerge. The US-led coalition in Syria was apparently told by Iraqi security sources that 24 extremists were involved in the terror operation planned in the ISIS capital Raqqa and it would involve 19 attackers including five others including bombmakers and planners. No detail was given of when or where an attack might take place.
- It has also emerged that Turkey’s authorities foiled a plot to stage a ‘Jihadi John revenge attack’ in Istanbul – involving a high-profile British jihadist – on the same day as the deadly massacre in Paris.
- From as far back as August, France’s authorities possessed information that militants were said to be planning attacks on French concert halls after a tip-off was received from a 30-year-old man who was detained on his way back from Syria.
- On Sunday night there were 42 people still said to be in intensive care in hospital following Friday’s terrorist attacks.
Thousands lined the streets of Paris on Monday for a minute’s silence to remember those killed in a wave of attacks on the city on Friday
- French and Belgian police are still hunting for three gunmen on the run, including Abdeslam, and an ISIS bombmaker likely to have made the suicide vests.
- An international arrest warrant has been issued for Abdeslam, 26, who is accused of renting a Volkswagen Polo used by the suicide bombers.
- It emerged on Sunday night that police found Abdeslam near the Belgian border early Saturday but let him go after he showed them his ID card. Officers pulled over the car being driven by Abdeslam on Saturday morning on the A2 motorway between Paris and Brussels. Two other men were also in the car.
- At the time, officers in Paris knew that Abdeslam had rented the car used by the killers which had been abandoned near the theatre but the information had not been transmitted to those responsible for conducting the border checks.
- On Sunday evening the French defence ministry announced that the country’s warplanes had bombed Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria’s Raqa, destroying a command post and a training camp. Ten fighter jets were involved, dropping 20 bombs.
- French and Belgian police conducted 168 pre-dawn anti-terror raids on Monday, including a botched attempt to capture Abdeslam, who is still on the run. The raids took place at addresses in Brussels, Toulouse, Lyon, Grenoble, Calais and two suburbs of Paris. A rocket launcher, flak jackets, several pistols and a Kalashnikov assault rifle were among the cache of weapons seized in Lyon overnight.
- French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 104 people had been placed under house arrest, while 23 suspects were detained for questioning.
- The mastermind behind the Paris terror attacks is named as one of ISIS’ top executioners, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, who even recruited his 13-year-old brother to fight with him in Syria.
- ISIS issue a chilling new video warning that countries taking part in air strikes against Syria will suffer the same fate as Paris and claimed they will attack Washington D.C. next.
THE VITAL CLUES MISSED IN EUROPE BEFORE THE MASSACRE
A series of vital clues appear to have been missed that could have averted the Paris atrocities.
Iraqi intelligence warned US-led coalition countries of an imminent assault the day before the Paris attacks, it has emerged.
At least one of the terrorists was a Parisian who had been on a terror watch list for five years, but was not being monitored closely enough to be stopped before he took part in the murderous attack.
Greek authorities believe that two of the gunmen sneaked into Europe posing as a refugee from Syria – heightening fears that not enough security checks are being carried out on migrants.
In May this year, The Mail on Sunday revealed the concerns of security analysts that Islamic State extremists were being smuggled into Europe among refugees crossing the Mediterranean.
More than a week ago, a heavily-armed suspect was stopped in Germany on his way to Paris. Hidden in his car, police found a terrifying arsenal, including seven Kalashnikov assault rifles and seven hand grenades. The destination programmed into his satnav system was Paris but officers failed to alert anti-terror police. The 51-year-old driver, a Muslim from Montenegro, was arrested and held in custody but has refused to talk.
In August, French intelligence detained a 30-year-old man on his way back from Syria who said militants were planning attacks on French concert halls.
Prosecutors also said the terrorists used an improved explosive known as TATP, or triacetone triperoxide, which also was used in the 2005 bombings in London and were likely to be homemade with ingredients usually traced by the secret services.
French intelligence and security services had been reorganised in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacres, which left 16 dead in January. A former senior intelligence officer very familiar with France said he and a lot of French intelligence officials think that after two internal services — the Central Directorate of General Intelligence (RG) and the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST) — were merged, it created a larger, but far weaker, General Directorate for Internal Security.
Alain Charret, an expert on France’s surveillance system, said it was hard for the military to be everywhere and for intelligence to predict everything, ‘but the reason why it is usually difficult to track people is because one or two people on their own are involved — here, it seems like it was a big group of organized people, so it should have been tracked more easily.’
Three days after the France’s ‘9/11’ police and security services were accused last night of a string of appalling blunders over the Paris massacres.
It emerged that:
- Police stopped one of the gunmen hours after the bloodbath but let him go. He is now the world’s most wanted man;
- One suspected suicide bomber came to France from Greece where he had arrived on a raft with 198 Syrian refugees;
- Authorities on the Greek island of Leros admitted that every refugee is given onward travel documents;
- Omar Ismaël Mostefai , 29, one of the Bataclan suicide bombers, was spotted in Turkey where officials contacted French counterparts twice to say he was probably a terror threat in December 2014 and in June 2015. There was no response until French police asked for more information after Friday’s attacks;
- German police failed to tell their French counterparts they had seized a Paris-bound car laden with weapons;
- Bataclan suspect named as Sami Aminour – who is believed to have been known to French police since 2012 after he tried to flee for Yemen;
- Iraqi spies warned Western powers of an planned attack using teams of suicide bombers on the day before the Paris massacre;
- In August French police arrested a 30-year-old man after he returned from Syria and he told them ISIS wanted to attack a concert venue like the Bataclan
The man let go by police, Salah Abdeslam, is one of three Belgian-based brothers all thought to be part of the Islamic State terror gang. An international arrest warrant is in place and the public have been urged not to approach him.
French police have also launched a series of coordinated anti-terrorism raids across the country this morning and have arrested dozens of people following the deadly attacks in Paris on Friday. Heavily armed tactical units launched dozens of raids in Toulouse, Grenoble, Calais and two Paris suburbs.
The French interior ministry confirmed that anti-terror police conducted 168 raids across the country overnight.
They have arrested dozens of suspects and seizing a cache of weapons including a rocket launcher.
Despite the movement on the ground today incredibly, French officials revealed that police had questioned him, checked his ID and then released him hours after the attacks.
The questioning came when police pulled over a Volkswagen Golf car containing three people in Cambrai near the French-Belgian border at 9am on Saturday.
This was hours after authorities had identified Salah Abdeslam as the person who had rented another Volkswagen – a Polo – that was abandoned outside the Bataclan concert hall.
But the occupants of the Golf were allowed to drive on as officials found nothing suspicious, it is understood. Police in Paris first linked the attacks to Belgium when they found a number of parking tickets from the Brussels suburb of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in a VW Polo with Belgian number plates found outside the Bataclan.
Another car – also with Belgian plates – was found abandoned, packed with Kalashnikov assault rifles in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil yesterday, leading to speculation that some of the attackers have escaped. It was used in two of the drive-by shootings at restaurants.
Another of the Belgian bombers, Bilal Hadfi, who is from Neder-over-Heembeek, travelled to Syria earlier this year, after being radicalised by a Belgian imam, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.
He was friends on Facebook with another Syrian jihadi from Molenbeek, Abou Isleym, who was recently seen posing on the social networking site with a decapitated corpse.
Bilal wrote on Facebook in July: ‘To all my brothers who stay in the country of infidels. The dogs threaten our people everywhere. You are living in a community of pigs. Even in your dreams you should not feel safe.’
It is now thought that the attacks were planned in Belgium by terrorists who communicated with each under the noses of security using Sony’s PlayStation 4.
Belgian federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon has said that the device has been used by Islamic State agents to communicate because it is notoriously hard to monitor, and it is even more difficult to keep track of than the Whats-App mobile phone messaging application.
The gang, which is also believed to include a woman and two men who entered Europe posing as Syrian refugees, are thought to have travelled from Molenbeek to Paris in rented cars.
The suburb, which has a population of 90,000, has a large immigrant population and is one of the most deprived areas of the Belgian capital. It is known by locals as the ‘den of terrorists’ and has been linked to a number of deadly terror attacks in recent years.
Grief: a huge crowd stop outside Sorbonne University to observe a minute-silence in memory of the victims of the Paris terror attacks
Members of the public stand still outside the La Belle Equipe cafe on Rue de Charonne during a one minute-silence today
Seven people were arrested in 24 hours in Brussels after they were linked to the Paris attacks, including five in Molenbeek. There were further raids in Molenbeek last night.
The first arrest, apparently of Mohammed Abdeslam, happened at around 5pm on Saturday, when plainclothes officers swooped on a man in his 20s outside the Osseghem metro station in Molenbeek.
Dramatic video footage shows the suspect – dressed head to toe in black – wrestling with officers as they try to put him in handcuffs. They eventually managed to detain him by forcing him down into a kneeling position against a wall while another armed police officer trains his weapon on him.
Jules Mukendi, who lives in the street and saw the arrest, said: ‘There were three plainclothes policeman in the street, and an unmarked police car. I think they were waiting for someone. When he appeared, he tried to run into the underground station. They shouted at him and ran after him and pulled him to the floor. They held him on the ground for more than 30 minutes while back-up arrived. He was just a boy, not more than 20 years.’
Then, at around 9pm on Saturday, armed police sealed of all entrances and exits to Place Communale, a large square in front of the town hall in Molenbeek. They swooped on a top floor flat and arrested a man in his 20s.
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attack on Paris was ‘prepared abroad, by a group of individuals based in Belgium who benefited from accomplices in France’.
It has emerged that a car rented by Salah Abdeslam was abandoned by the Bataclan Theatre, while a Seat rented by his brother Ibrahim was dumped in Montreull with three AK-47s and some ammunition. Adeslam was questioned as he approached the Belgian border and Sunday morning in a third car which was later abandoned in the Jihadi hotspot of Molenbeek, where he disappeared
Eyewitnesses said they heard shots being fired and a possible explosion during the operation in Molenbeek, pictured
Heavily-armed officers fired CS gas into an apartment in Molenbeek before storming the building and arresting a suspect
Incredible footage shows armed officers swarm on at least one man and force him to kneel down as they detain him on a wall as shocked shoppers look on in the St Jans Molenbeek area of Brussels, Belgium, at around 5pm UK time yesterday. It came as Belgian police made seven arrests including five in an district known as a ‘den for terrorists’
Arrests: French Police have targeted suspects across France today and arrested people in Toulouse, left, after targeting the city’s Mirail district
Link: A car linked to the terror attack is towed during a police raid in Brussels’ Molenbeek district last night – an area called the ‘Jihadi capital of Europe’ – because of the links to a number of historic terror plots
This is the remains of one of the suicide bomber who targeted 80,000 fans at the Stade de France during a football match on Friday
Tickets: A Greek website has uncovered the terror suspect’s ferry tickets to Greece and shows he was travelling with a Mohammed Almuhamed, likely to be a relation
At least two of the terrorists is believed to have left Syria, travelled through Turkey and registered as a refugee on the Greek island of Leros on October 3 before continuing his journey northwards eventually arriving in Paris
Belgium has been identified as Europe’s Islamic State heartland. Per capita it is the European country providing the highest number of citizens to fight with Syrian rebels in recent years. Some 440 Belgians are believed to have travelled to Syria to fight between late 2011 and the end of 2014, according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.
FIRST BOMBER WAS FATHER OF TWO KNOWN TO FRENCH POLICE
One of the men behind the Bataclan concert massacre was last night revealed to be a ‘blue-eyed’ father of two children aged two and five.
Police discovered the identity of Ismael Omar Mostefai after finding his severed finger after he blew himself up.
The 29-year-old, born to Algerian and Portuguese parents, was known to French police as a petty criminal. Officers had taken his fingerprints after he committed a driving offence, it was reported.
He appeared in a gangster rap video in 2009 but a friend said soon afterwards he focussed in Islam and gave up drinking, although he continued to smoke cannabis.
Mostefai was said to have been radicalised by a Brussels-based hate preacher who spoke regularly at his French mosque, but had never been jailed. He had been on a watch list since 2010 and had travelled to Turkey in 2013 and then on to Syria, it is understood.
Investigators are now looking into whether he also took a trip to Syria last year, according to police sources.
Mostefai’s full name was revealed by the mayor of Chartres, 60 miles south-west of Paris, where Mostefai had lived until three years ago. His home was a few miles from the Luce mosque where he was alleged to have worshipped.
Karim Benaya, vice-president of the mosque, said the killer was not a regular worshipper there but admitted that, at peak times, there were up to 200 people praying and not all of their identities were known.
One former neighbour described Mostefai as sporty, around 6ft tall with blue eyes. It emerged that he had been a keen footballer and may have played for local team Chartres Horizon.
Others said that in Chartres Mostefai, his wife and eldest child had shared their four-bedroom home with his three brothers and two sisters, one as young as 14. The family were said to have lived off the income of Mostefai’s father, a lorry driver.
The killer’s father and a 34-year-old brother were placed in custody on Saturday and their homes searched.
At least 30 are said to have travelled from Molenbeek alone. Last night the Belgian government admitted it had lost control of Molenbeek. Jan Jambon, the interior minister, said: ‘In Molenbeek, the situation is not under control at the moment.’
A prominent, Moroccan-born member of the group behind the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 was from Molenbeek, while one of the Charlie Hebdo terrorists who carried out an attack at a kosher deli in Paris in January acquired weapons in the district.
The Thalys train terrorist, who launched an attack on a high-speed train from Brussels to Paris in August but was overpowered by passengers before he killed anyone, had been living in Molenbeek with his sister in the weeks before he carried out the attack.
David Cameron will today respond to the raised threat by promising extra money for anti-terrorism spies and aviation security. He also revealed that they have foiled seven major plots in Britain in the past six months.
And France last night carried out instant retribution by launching its biggest air strike yet on IS in Syria. The raid by ten fighter jets saw 20 bombs dropped on a command centre, training camp and munitions depot in the terror group’s stronghold of Raqqa.
It came as Iraqi intelligence said they warned Western countries of an imminent assault the day before the Paris attacks.
The US-led coalition in Syria was apparently told that 24 extremists were involved in the terror operation planned in the ISIS capital Raqqa and it would involve 19 attackers including five others including bombmakers and planners.
Police on Friday detained five people in Istanbul including a suspected close associate of the notorious Islamic State (IS) group militant known as ‘Jihadi John’ who Washington believes was likely killed in a recent drone strike in Syria.
As panic continued to grip Paris hundreds of people attending a memorial at the Place de la Republique started running amid reports of gunfire.
Channel 4 news were broadcasting live from the scene as panicked people fled. People trampled through floral tributes in an effort to escape from the scene in what was later described as a false alarm.
But the shocking ease with which its followers were able to travel across Europe has sparked a renewed debate about the European Union’s open borders policy.
The suspected suicide bomber reached Greece after crossing the Aegean from Turkey with 198 migrants on a raft that was rescued when it started to sink. The 25-year-old claimed asylum last month on the tiny island of Leros using a suspected fake passport in the name of Ahmad Almohammad.
He was arrested but later released and given papers that allowed him to travel to Athens and mainland Europe because officials believed he was a genuine refugee.
He was allowed to travel through the Balkans, passing through checkpoints in Serbia and Croatia, before heading for Northern Europe.
Greece identified him after the passport he used was found near the body of one of the gang near the Stade de France attack site.
The French have not confirmed the refugee connection but Greece’s migration minister, Yannis Mouzalas, last night said ‘Almohammad’ was presumed to be a terrorist. Two other bombers were said to be carrying fake Turkish passports.
More than 500 people are landing on a daily basis on Leros, which is just seven miles from Turkey. But officials last night admitted the handing out of travel documents mean ‘everyone’ is able to pass on to Athens regardless of whether they are a genuine refugee.
Greece said the man using the Syrian passport in the name of Almohammad arrived with a boatload of migrants on October 3.
They released a mugshot of the man that was taken as he registered with guards on the quayside, claiming he was a refugee.
Authorities arrested him – as is routine for all arrivals – but the next day he was told he would not be prosecuted and handed papers that allowed him to book a ferry ticket to Athens before continuing his journey through the Balkans. He was stopped in both Serbia and Croatia, but was allowed to continue unimpeded because officials said they had no reason to suspect him.
Panic: Mourners ran fearing for their lives on Place de Republique tonight, left, with some sprinting and falling through flowers and candles left for the dead, right, after someone set off firecrackers that sounded like gunfire
A woman is comforted as she breaks down outside the Carillon cafe and the Petit Cambodge restaurant where victims were gunned down
A wounded man is helped by a passer-by as he lies outside a cafe following the attack, which saw a gunman open fire on the crowd
Survivors began tending to those who had been injured during Friday’s atrocity despite the fear of further terrorist attacks
Dead and wounded people lie on the pavement outside the Cafe Bonne Biere in Paris following a series of coordinated attacks on Friday
‘Den of terrorists’: A police car patrols the Molenbeek district of Brussels today after seven arrests in Belgium linked to the Paris terror attack in the past 24 hours
Raid drama: This is Osseghem metro station in the Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels where several suspects were arrested yesterday
An armed officer stood guard and kept a look-out as one of the terror suspects was arrested in the St Jans Molenbeek area of Brussels yesterday. The suspect was later taken into police custody where he will be questioned in connection with the horror attacks in France
Border checks were reintroduced at the French/Belgium border last night as the authorities tried to find the remainder of the terror cell
Belgian authorities have not yet confirmed exactly how many people have been arrested in Brussels but police said ‘several’ had been
A spokesman for the Croatian interior ministry said: ‘There was no record about him at the time of registration and there was no reason for us to stop him. We did not label him as potentially suspicious.’
The Serbians said they found no record of any Interpol warrant in his name, so did not detain him.
The mayor of Leros, Mihalis Kolias, warned: ‘So many people are passing through our island and now we know among them are terrorists. This is a big problem for Europe. We must have more security.’
Each week thousands of refugees land on neighbouring Farmakonisi before they are picked up by the Greek coastguard and taken to the largest town on Leros, Lakki.
Humanitarian aid workers and island officials last night confirmed every arrival was given documents permitting onward travel no matter what their circumstances.
When asked how many of the migrants coming to the island are issued the papers, Mr Kolias said: ‘Everyone.’ He said people believed to be from Syria are given documents allowing them to travel through Greece for six months.
A volunteer in a refugee camp next to the quay in Lakki replied ‘That does not happen’ when asked whether refugees were ever refused papers.
A group of around 40 people claiming to have fled from Afghanistan were last night due to leave for Athens despite not having identification such as passports.
Mr Kolias said there had been a minimum of 500 people coming daily to his island, which has a population of 8,000.