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Suspected mastermind of Paris attacks killed in police raid

The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Nov 19th, 2015

Abdelhamid-Abaaoud-878x494

The Belgian jihadi suspected of masterminding deadly attacks in Paris died along with his cousin in a police raid on a suburban apartment building, officials said Thursday.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins’ office said 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud was identified based on skin samples, but authorities did not know how he died.

His body was found in the apartment building targeted in the chaotic and bloody raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis on Wednesday.

Three police officials say a woman who died in the raid was Abaaoud’s cousin. One said Hasna Aitboulahcen is believed to have detonated a suicide vest after a brief conversation with police officers.

The official confirmed an audio recording, punctuated by gunshots, in which an officer asks: “Where is your boyfriend?” and she responded angrily: “He’s not my boyfriend!” Then loud bangs are heard.

The exact relationship between Abaaoud and Aitboulahcen was not clear.

The bodies recovered in the raid were badly mangled, with a part of Aitboulahcen’s spine landing on a police car, complicating formal identification, according to one of the officials.

The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to divulge details of the investigation.

Police launched the operation after receiving information from tapped phone calls, surveillance and tipoffs suggesting that Abaaoud was holed up there. Eight people were arrested in the raid.

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