The Slatest

Alleged Mastermind of Paris Attack Confirmed Dead

An undated photograph (published by ISIS) of a man identified as Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who French authorities say was killed Wednesday outside Paris.

Photo by Reuters

Update, Nov. 20, 2015: Per multiple reports, French authorities now believe that the female suspect who died during Wednesday’s raid did not blow herself up but was in fact standing next to someone else who detonated explosives.

Original post, Nov. 19, 2015: French officials have confirmed reports that suspected Paris attack planner Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed in a raid Wednesday in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. From CNN:

In a statement released Thursday, the Paris prosecutor’s office said that Abaaoud’s body was found in the Saint-Denis building riddled with bullets. The office said that he was positively identified using papillary prints, which include patterns on fingers, palms and the soles of the feet.


Exactly how he died, at this point, isn’t known.

One other suspect, a woman, is known to have killed herself with explosives during the raid.


Abaaoud, who was reportedly 27, has been suspected for some time of involvement with terror operations in Europe and was reportedly even targeted (unsuccessfully, obviously) in an October missile strike in Syria. Authorities said Thursday, however, that they were not aware that he was actually present in Europe before Friday’s Paris attacks:

Abaaoud was born in Morocco and grew up in Belgium; he left his home in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek to join ISIS forces in Syria in early 2014.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the Paris attacks.