French Authorities Identify Leader of 13 November Terror Attacks.July 26, 2016 in France
French authorities have disclosed that they have identified the commander of the 13 November 2015 Islamist militant attacks in Paris. They have further disclosed that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was cornered and killed by police just days later, played a lesser role in the attacks.
Newly published official documents cite testimony by Bernard Bajolet, France’s head of external security, to a closed-door parliamentary inquiry into France’s anti-terrorism activities on 24 May. Bajolet however did not identify who authorities now think was the commander, nor did he disclose whether the person is alive or dead.
Abaaoud was initially described as the leader of the machinegun and suicide bomb attacks on the Bataclan music hall, Paris bars and restaurants, and the Stade de France, in which 130 people were killed. During the inquiry, Bajolet is quoted as stating, “it is true that Abaaoud was a coordinate, but he was not the commander…We know who the commander is, but I will stay discreet on that point,” adding, “we now have a good knowledge of the organogram…We have made progress on these subjects, we therefore have an idea of the identity of the commander.”
Last week, Parliament published recommendations of the inquiry, and on Tuesday 12 July, it released its full report.