Factbox: The hunt for the Paris attackers
A French policeman points as he evacuates residents in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris, November 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night's deadly attacks in the Frenc h capital. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

 PARIS: France and Belgium are hunting suspects after the shootings and bombings on Nov. 13 that killed 130 people and injured hundreds at a rock concert hall, sports stadium and bars and restaurants in Paris.

At least eight attackers are dead, wit seven killed in the attacks and one days later in a police raid. The number involved in the attacks may have been 10 or higher and at least four people are being sought, chief among them Salah Abdeslam, who police think may be an assailant referred to in an Islamic State statement claiming responsibility for the attacks.

Here is what we know about the suspects and the wider circle pursued by police.


Nov 13: France. Seven assailants died during the attacks: three at the Bataclan concert hall, three outside the Stade de France stadium and one of three gunmen involved in the cafe shootings.

Nov 18: France. Three people died and eight were arrested in a police assault on a hideout flat in St. Denis, north of Paris. One of the three was suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan origin who played a direct role in the cafe shootings, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said.


Salah Abdeslam, 26, French, born in Brussels (Sept. 15, 1989). Suspected of having rented the VW Polo and Renault Clio cars used in the attacks. Investigators say he went to Belgium from France the day after the attacks in a VW Golf, despite being stopped by French police along the way in routine road checks before his name was circulated as a suspect.

His brother Brahim died in the attack (see below).

Fears that Salah was back in Belgium and might be plotting attacks prompted the closure of Brussels underground rail lines, schools, shopping centres and other public places on Nov. 20. The shutdown was partially lifted on Nov. 25.

French police are examining a suicide belt dumped in Montrouge on the southwestern fringes of Paris, where phone traces suggested Salah was present on the night of Nov. 13.

Investigators are trying to establish whether Salah was supposed to carry out an attack in Paris’s 18th district, the prosecutor said. In its statement, Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack there that did not happen.

The last person known to have seen Abdeslam, Ali Oulkadi, said he gave him a lift across Brussels on Nov. 14 and when he dropped him off Abdeslam said: “You’ll never see me again.”

Some media relayed speculation at the end of November that Salah Abdeslam may have already fled to Syria. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls treated this as “rumour” on Dec. 1.

Mohamed Abrini, 30, Belgian of Moroccan origin, seen by police on video footage with Salah on Nov. 11 at a fuelling station in Ressons, north of Paris, near the motorway linking Belgium to Paris. The Renault Clio in the footage was used in the attacks.

A Belgian police notice describes Abrini, who has fought in Syria and came from the same area of Brussels as the Abdeslam brothers and Abdelhamid Abaaoud, as “dangerous and probably armed”.

Belgian and French police are seeking two others who used forged Belgian ID papers under the names of Samir Bouzid and Soufiane Kayal. Belgian police said Salah Abdeslam made two trips to Budapest in a rental car during September 2015 and that the two men were spotted in a car with him at the border between Hungary and Austria on Sept. 9. A Belgian prosecutor statement contained a somewhat fuzzy photo of the two seemingly take from CCTV footage. Belgium said they may be armed and dangerous.

The Kayal identity papers were used to rent a house in the Belgian town of Auvelais that police raided on Nov. 26. The Bouzid identity papers was used four days after the Nov. 13 attacks to wire 750 euros from a Western Union outlet in Brussels to a woman in France named Hasna Ait Boulahcen who was killed in the police raid on the St Denis flat.


Bataclan concert hall: (3 dead gunmen with suicide vests. Two blew themselves up and a third was shot by police)

Ismail Omar Mostefai, 29 (born Nov. 21, 1985), Frenchman of Algerian descent. Lived for a time in Chartres area, southwest of Paris. Born in Courcouronnes, south of Paris. His name was put on French intelligence services’ “S notice” in 2010 for reported radicalisation. An unnamed senior Turkish government official says Turkey contacted France about Mostefai in December 2014 and June 2015 but only got a return request for information on him after the Paris attacks..

Samy Amimour, 28 (born Oct. 15, 1987). French, from Drancy near St. Denis. Subject of an international arrest warrant since late 2013. He had been under official investigation since October 2012 on suspicion of terrorism-related activity over a plan to go to Yemen. Amimour, a bus driver who had been radicalised in a mosque near Drancy, was ordered by police to check in with them every week but missed four checks in 2013. After nearly a month, authorities put out the warrant for his arrest but he was already in Syria.

Foued Mohamed-Aggad, 23, French, from Strasbourg area of eastern France. Mother born in Morocco and father of Algerian descent. Police had been struggling to identify him until his mother made contact with investigators to say she had received an SMS from Syria announcing he died on Nov. 13. He was identified when policy matched his DNA with hers.

Went to Syria in late with his brother Karim and a group of friends from his neighbourhood in late 2013. Karim, who is in jail in France, was among seven who returned from Syria and were arrested in May 2014.

Several people from his home town of Wissembourg, 70 km north of Strasbourg, gave snippets of information about him – among them that he narrowly failed a police entrance exam and was rejected by the army. His mother raised her three children on her own after separating from the father some 10 years ago.

Cafe killings: (3 gunmen, 2 identified)

Brahim Abdeslam, 31 (born July 30, 1984), French citizen but born and raised in Brussels, where he ran a bar in the Molenbeek district with his brother Salah. Blew himself up at the Comptoir Voltaire cafe in wake of the shootings. His fingerprints were on one of the AK-47 rifles left in a Seat Leon used in the attacks.

Presumed ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 28, Belgian of Moroccan origin, grew up in Molenbeek but vanished in 2013 and showed up in Syria, where he was one of Islamic State’s most high-profile European recruits. Local media say he was jailed for robbery in 2010 and spent time in prison alongside Salah Abdeslam. Before the attacks, European governments believed Abaaoud was still in Syria. He had been in Belgium in January plotting attacks that were foiled when police raided a house in Verviers and killed two Belgian associates.

Prosecutor Molins said on Nov. 24 that Abaaoud both took part in the cafe shootings and returned to the killing scenes while the Bataclan attack was still under way on the night of Nov. 13. He also said Abaaoud and another man were believed to be preparing a suicide bomb attack on the La Defense business district in the west of Paris on Nov. 18 or 19.

Closed circuit TV footage showed Abaaoud entering the Croix de Chavaux metro railway station in eastern Paris with another man on Nov. 13, a couple of hundred metres from where the Seat Leon was found. His fingerprints were found on one of three AK-47 assault rifles in the car.

According to a leaked transcript of a witness interviewed by police, Abaaoud spoke mockingly about having entered Europe from Syria via Greece two months before the attacks. The account, confirmed to Reuters by sources close to the investigation, also said Abaaoud had proposed that a cousin, who died alongside him in the Nov. 18 police raid, take 5,000 euros to buy suits and shoes for him and another man to enter the La Defense business district unnoticed.

Other: a third gunman who took part in the cafe shootings has not been identified. Investigators say the DNA of a person who blew himself up during the Nov. 18 raid matches traces found on one of the AK-47 rifles in the abandoned Seat, and that may mean he is the third person who took part in the cafe shootings.

Stade de France: (3 dead suicide bombers who used vests containing bolts, 1 named)

Bilal Hadfi, 20 (born Jan 22, 1995). Dropped out of school in Brussels in February 2014 to travel to Syria. Believing he was back, police bugged his apartment but he did not show up.

Other: A man blew himself up outside Gate D at the Stade de France. A passport found near his dead body has the name of Ahmad Al Mohammad, 25, (born Sept. 10, 1990), from Idlib, northwest Syria. His fingerprints match prints of a person registered under that name as arriving in Greece in Oct. 3, 2015. It has not been confirmed, however, that the bomber is the man in the passport.

Other: The fingerprints of a third man who blew himself up outside Gate H of the Stade de France show that he passed through Greece at the same time as the other unidentified stadium suicide bomber. Police have published a photo in an appeal for help to identify the man.


Hasna Ait Boulahcen: woman, 26, who suffocated under rubble in the Nov. 18 police assault in St. Denis. Police were tapping her phone as part of a drugs probe and watched her lead Abaaoud back to the apartment before the raid. Abaaoud and another man apparently called her in haste on Nov. 17 from where they were hiding in bushes to find them a hideout.

Other: The third person who died in the St. Denis raid may have been the third gunman involved in the cafe shootings, but this has yet to be confirmed.


In France:

Jawad Bendaoud, one of eight arrested in St. Denis swoop, who provided lodgings for Abaaoud. Jawad told French TV as he was being led away to custody on Nov. 18 that he was unaware he had helped suspected terrorists.

Prosecutor Molins said Bendaoud was in contact before and after the attacks with a person using a Belgian phone who was in turn in phone contact with the attackers.

The other seven arrested, five of whom are thought to be squatters who had taken refuge in the same building, according to police sources, were released after questioning.

In sweeps facilitated by state of emergency rules that apply until February 2016, police have searched 2,235 homes, taken 232 people into custody and discovered 334 weapons, 34 of them war-grade, since the Nov. 13 attacks, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Dec. 2.

These are in theory wide-net roundups of people who may have suspected links in some way or other to Islamist circles. There have been some accounts in media of police excess, or mistaken raid addresses or identities.

In Turkey:

Ahmet Dahmani, a Belgian man of Moroccan origin suspected of some form of involvement in the Paris attack, was arrested by police in Turkey on Nov. 21, a government official said. A Turkish news agency said he acted as a “scout” in selecting target locations. Dahmani, 26, was arrested at a luxury hotel in the southern Turkish coastal city of Antalya after travelling from Amsterdam on Nov. 14. Two suspected accomplices were also arrested, the official said.

In Belgium:

Nine have been placed under formal investigation on terrorism-related charges after more than two dozen arrests.

Mohammad Amri, 27, and Hamza Attouh, 21, went to Paris by car shortly after the attacks to fetch Salah Abdeslam and bring him back to Belgium on Nov. 14.

Lazez Abraimi, 39, Moroccan living in western Brussels. His lawyers say he admits taking Salah somewhere in Brussels in his car but knows nothing else. They say Abraimi’s brother is in Syria but he himself is not a radical. They explain the discovery of two handguns in his car by the fact he deals in bric-a-brac. Blood found in his car is not that of Salah, his lawyer says.

Ali Oulkadi, 31, a Frenchman living in Molenbeek, western Brussels, accused of driving Salah in Brussels on Nov. 14. His lawyer says Oulkadi dropped him off north of the city centre.

Abdellah Chouaa, 35, Belgian national. Belgian broadcaster RTBF says Chouaa saw off Mohamed Abrini at the airport when the latter left to fight in Syria. His phone number was also found with a detainee at Belgium’s Namur prison who was contacted by Salah Abdeslam on the day of the attacks in Paris. Chaouaa denies any involvement, his lawyer told Reuters.

Man named as Mohamed B. Detained in Brussels on Nov. 26.

Samir Z, born in 1995, a Frenchman detained at Brussels airport on Nov. 29 as he was boarding a plane for Morocco. He is suspected of having tried to go to Syria at least twice in 2015 and is believed to be part of Bilal Hadfi’s group.

Pierre N., born in 1987, detained at his home in Molenbeek on Nov. 29.

Regarding Amri and Attouh, lawyer Xavier Carette said his client Amri was an unwitting accomplice who knew nothing about any role in attacks when he drove Salah Abdeslam back from Paris to Brussels on the night of Nov. 13-14. A lawyer for Attouh quoted him as saying that Abdeslam was “extremely tense” and may have still been wearing a suicide belt under his down jacket.

Abdoullah C., born 1985, Belgian national. Detained on Dec. 22. Suspected of having been in contact with Hasna Ait Boulahcen in the period between the attacks and the raids in Saint-Denis.

Mohammad Abdeslam, brother of Salah and the dead Brahim, was among five people released after arrests on Nov. 19.

Police raided a house in Molenbeek looking for Salah on Nov. 29 after a hoax call. They arrested the caller.

Recommend to friends

Leave a comment