Paris attacker linked to Belgian ISIS cell – report
BRUSSELS, Belgium – One of the suicide bombers in the Paris attacks had links to a Belgian Islamic State (ISIS) militant believed to be the mastermind of a jihadist cell dismantled in January, a report said on Monday, November 16.
The name of Paris attacker Brahim Abdeslam appears in several police files alongside leading militant Abdelhamid Abaaoud relating to criminal cases in 2010 and 2011, Flemish-language newspaper De Standaard reported.
"Investigators see a link with Verviers," it said, referring to an eastern Belgian town where police shot dead two militants in January and broke up a cell aiming to kill Belgian police officers in the streets days after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.
Belgian prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.
Abaaoud – a 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan descent who allegedly led the group and had fought with the Islamic State group in Syria – remains at large. He has claimed in the ISIS English-language magazine Dabiq to have rejoined the group in Syria.
Both Abdeslam, a Belgium-based Frenchman who blew himself up outside a bar on Boulevard Voltaire, and Abaaoud lived in the Brussels district of Molenbeek which has a reputation as a hotbed of Islamic militancy.
French police have launched an international manhunt for Abdeslam's Brussels-born brother Salah, who is also said to be linked to the Paris attacks.
Two more attackers identified
French prosecutors on Monday also identified two more Paris attackers, including a Syrian and a Frenchman who was previously charged in a "terrorist" case.
A suicide bomber who blew himself up outside the Stade de France stadium is believed to be Syrian Ahmad Al Mohammad from Idlib.
A statement from the prosecutor's office said the Syrian passport found in that name near the body "remains to be verified," but that fingerprints matched those taken in Greece in October.
The second was 28-year-old Samy Amimour, from the suburb of Drancy outside Paris.
He was involved in the massacre of 89 people in the Bataclan concert hall, one of a spate of attacks on nightlife spots late on Friday which left 129 dead and hundreds injured.
Amimour "is known to anti-terrorist investigators for being charged on October 19, 2012 for conspiracy to commit terrorism" over a planned attack in Yemen that was foiled.
He violated his judicial supervision in 2013, prompting judges to issue an international arrest warrant.
His family told AFP, in an interview before Friday's attacks in Paris took place, that he had gone to Syria in 2013.
Three members of Amimour's family were taken into custody early on Monday, said the statement. – Rappler.com