Abdelhamid Abaaoud, named by a French official as the suspected mastermind behind the attacks that killed 132 people in Paris on Friday, is “one of the most active” Islamic State executioners in Syria, according to French radio station RTL.
The 27-year-old Belgian is believed to be linked to thwarted attacks on a high-speed train bound for the French capital from Amsterdam and a church in the Paris area earlier this year, the unnamed official, who is not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, told the Associated Press.
Reuters also reported that Abaaoud could be the brains behind the Paris attacks, citing a source close to the French investigation.
The news agency said that Abaaoud is currently in Syria, where a civil war has been raging since 2011. However prosecutors in Belgium told Reuters that reports of Abaaoud masterminding the attacks in the French capital are unconfirmed “rumors.”
RTL said Abaaoud is from the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek, which has been linked to several terrorist attacks. A major police operation took place there Monday, which failed to yield any terror-related arrests.
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