According to the Washington Post, two senior intelligence officials have announced that Abdelhamid Abaaoud as dead just hours after French police raided Parisian suburb, Saint-Denis, this morning in pursuit of the subject. Abaaoud has been identified as the man who planned the terrorist attacks launched on Paris last weekend.
Two were killed and seven were arrested in the seven-hour long raid of the area. The suspects were found in an apartment; one of the people who died had detonated herself when the authorities arrived while the other was killed by projectiles and grenades during the raid.
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Two of those seven suspects were later found hiding in rubble by authorities. The police say that the raid came right on time, as the suspects that were caught in this morning’s raid were allegedly connected to Abaaoud and on the brink of launching another major attack on Charles de Gaulle Airport and Les Quatre Temp, the famous and expansive shopping mall.
Police targeted Saint-Denis because tapped phone lines, surveillance footage and witnesses suggested that Abaaoud had stationed himself in the area. The terrorist ringleader was reportedly seen in the area going to mosque in the hours leading up to the raid. Saint-Denis is less than two kilometers from the Stade de France, the stadium that held an international soccer match close by to one of the bombing sites.
Explosions during the raid began at approximately 4 am and went on for another hour. Residents stayed inside out of fear as hundreds of shots rang out from the police. One police source anonymously said that four officers were injured. Prosecutor Francois Molins declined to share the names of the people that were arrested in yesterday’s raid.
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Simultaneously, France has been attacking Islamic State targets in Syria for the past three nights. So far, 10 jets have come down on Islamic State command centers.
Abaaoud, a 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan descent, was also supposedly a leading figure in Islamic State operations that the US has been tracking for months. He’s also suspected of having stationed himself in Syria and possibly having travelled between Syria and Europe after a botched attack on Belgium in January.
President Francois Holland has spoken at length about his appreciation for the police involved with the raid, saying that this is an important advancement in France’s newly declared war against the Islamic State’s terrorism. The attacks led on Paris has only emboldened international efforts to obliterate ISIS, as it has brought France, Russia and the United States together to combat the hate group that has long been terrorizing the Middle East and posing a threat to other destinations around the world.
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As part of that effort, the Interior Ministry has carried out over 400 raids since Friday, making over 60 arrests, seizing 75 weapons and 11 military style firearms. Parliament is now voting on whether to extend the country’s state of emergency for another three months.
Last night, two flights from LA’s International Airport on Air France were diverted from Paris and sent to land in Salt Lake City and Halifax instead. Officials were responding to anonymous threats that were sent shortly after take-off, but no new bombs were found on board; the flights resumed their travels to Paris after they were inspected and cleared.
A soccer game in Hannover, Germany between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled due to a bomb threat as well, although no arrests were made nor were any explosives found.
[SOURCE: The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, CNN]
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