Police uncertain if Abaaoud in Saint-Denis apartment

French police were trying to verify on Wednesday if the suspected commander of the attacks in Paris was among those killed and arrested in a massive police assault in the capital. Two people died and the police detained a further seven.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said telephone surveillance and witness statements had led police to believe that Belgian jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud was in an apartment in Saint-Denis in northern Paris.

Anti-terrorist police flooded the streets near the building and soldiers were drafted in for an operation that lasted around seven hours.

The prosecutor said at the end of the operation that investigations following Friday’s attacks allowed police “to obtain telephonic surveillance and witness testimony, which led us to believe that Abaaoud was likely to be in an … apartment in Saint-Denis”.

But he added: “Nobody has been able to enter the building, so forensic police have not started their work.”

“It is impossible to give the identities” of the two suspected jihadists killed in the assault, he said. The dead included a woman, who detonated explosives and blew herself up.

Police launched their assault before dawn in the area close to the Stade de France stadium where three suicide bombers blew themselves up on Friday night, killing one person.

Other gunmen wearing explosives belts had attacked a concert hall, bars and restaurants in a trendy eastern district of Paris, killing 129 people.

Abaaoud, a 28-year-old from Brussels of Moroccan origin, has been linked to a series of Islamic extremist plots and recruitment efforts in Europe over the past two years and has bragged about how he has avoided arrest.

He has been photographed in Syria and was believed to have been in contact with a suspect on the run after the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam. – AFP

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Related stories

Isis is not driving the Cabo Delgado war

Can Frelimo and its backers continue to profit from a failing state while an armed insurgency rages in northern Mozambique? And will South Africa help prop them up?

In limbo: ‘Isis children’ in prison

Iraq grapples with how to handle an unprecedented number of minors, many of whom were beaten into confession

Released Brussels terrorism suspect proclaims innocence

A man arrested in connection with the Brussels bombing was released after no evidence found was linking him to the attacks, according to prosecutors

Isis stronghold in Libya spells dire consequences

If Islamic State consolidates its foothold in Libya, it will pose a major threat to North Africa and Europe.

Complex Isis bureaucracy includes department of ‘War Spoils’

Seized documents detail the militant group's plan to manage revenue streams - including pillaged oil - and oversee subjugated populations.

Islamic State’s blueprint for power

Leaked documents show how the ‘terror’ group is establishing a functioning state.

Subscribers only

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Q&A Sessions: ‘I think I was born way before my...

The chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the deputy chair of the SABC board, shares her take on retrenchments at the public broadcaster and reveals why she hates horror movies

More top stories

Exclusive: Top-secret testimonies implicate Rwanda’s president in war crimes

Explosive witness testimony from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda implicates Paul Kagame and the RPF in mass killings before, during and after the 1994 genocide.

Shadow of eviction looms over farm dwellers

In part two of a series on the lives of farm dwellers, Tshepiso Mabula ka Ndongeni finds a community haunted by the scourge of eviction

DRC: Tshisekedi and Kabila fall out

The country’s governing coalition is under strain, which could lead to even more acrimony ahead

Editorial: Crocodile tears from the coalface

Pumping limited resources into a project that is predominantly meant to extend dirty coal energy in South Africa is not what local communities and the climate needs.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…