MS Risk Blog

Third Paris Bataclan Music Venue Attacker Identified

Posted on in France title_rule

Last week on Wednesday 9 December, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that French police have identified the third attacker at the Bataclan during the Paris attacks.

While Mr Valls did not name the man, he also did not dispute media reports, which have named him as French national Foued Mohamed-Aggad, aged 23, from Strasbourg. On the night of 13 November, three men stormed the Bataclan at around 21:40 local time, during a concert by the Eagles of Death metal rock group. They opened fire on concern-goers, repeatedly reloading their guns before police arrived at the scene. Ninety people were killed at the Bataclan. All three gunmen who attacked the venue, and who were wearing suicide vests, have been confirmed as French nationals.

According to sources, Mohamed-Aggad reportedly travelled to Syria in late 2013 as part of a group of radicalized youth from Strasbourg, which included his brother. While several members of that group were arrested upon returning to France in the spring of last year, Mohamed-Aggad is believed to have remained in Syria. According to sources, Mohamed-Aggad was identified late last week by police after DNA samples were confirmed to match with members of his family.

The two others who blew themselves up at the Bataclan last month were identified as Frenchmen Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29, and Samy Amimour, 28.   Mostefai was identified from a finger-tip that was found at the venue. He was reported to have previously worked as a baker in Chartres, near Paris, however in 2010, authorities identified him as a suspected extremist. Amimour, from the northeastern Paris suburb of Drancy, had been charged with terror offences in 2012 over claims that he was planning to travel to Yemen. After being placed under judicial supervision, he disappeared, which prompted French authorities to issue an international arrest warrant.

One source has indicated that we are now sure that Mostefai, Amimour, Mohamed Aggad, Bilal Hadfi and suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud had travelled to Syria, adding that Mohamed-Aggad was slightly different as it appears that he likely spent longer in Syria than the others. Additionally, two of the Stade de France attackers were believed to have come to Europa via the Greek Island of Leros, with officials noting that they may have been posing as Syrian refugees.

French media are reporting that Mohamed-Aggad was recruited by Mourad Fares, a man known to have actively recruited young Frenchmen on behalf of jihadist groups operating in Syria. Fares was arrested last year in Turkey. At the time, French Inferior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve described him as a “particularly dangerous individual close to jihadist terrorist movements” including the so-called Islamic State (IS) group. He was placed under provisional detention in France in September 2014 and is being prosecuted for a number of terrorism-related offenses in France and Syria.

One other Paris attacker remains to be identified.

The other attackers who took part in the co-ordinated attacks around Paris, which killed 130 people in total, have either been identified as home-grown French or Belgian extremists.

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