Paris Attacks Mastermind Killed

Paris Attacks Mastermind KilledParis Attacks Mastermind Killed

French prosecutors confirmed on Thursday that the mastermind behind the Paris attacks that claimed the lives of 129 people was among those killed in a police raid the previous day.

His bullet-riddled body was found in the wreckage of a flat in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, along with Hasna Aitboulahcen—reportedly Abaaoud’s cousin—who died after detonating a suicide vest.

This is while European Union interior ministers are discussing tightening the external borders of the passport-free Schengen area in response to the Paris attacks.

France wants EU citizens to be subject to the same stringent border checks as non-EU travelers, and wants easier sharing of airline passenger data.

It has emerged the alleged Belgian leader of last week’s attacks traveled undetected from Syria to France.

Meanwhile, Germany’s intelligence chief has warned of a “terrorist world war”.

Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the domestic intelligence agency, told the BBC that the so-called Islamic State had made Europe its enemy and European countries had to “assume something like Paris can happen any time”.

The near-simultaneous attacks by suicide bombers and gunmen on restaurants, a concert hall and sports stadium last Friday killed 129 people and left hundreds of people wounded. IS said it was behind the attacks.

France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking on Thursday, said it was “urgent that Europe wakes up, organizes itself and defends itself against the terrorist threat”.

He said France received no warning from other European countries that Abaaoud—a well-known face of IS and on international “most wanted” lists—had arrived on the continent.

France said it received intelligence from a non-European country some three days after the attacks that Abaaoud had passed through Greece on his return from Syria.

One of the attackers, who blew himself up outside the Stade de France, has also been traced by his fingerprints to Greece where he was registered as a migrant.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said some of those involved in the attacks had taken advantage of the migration crisis in Europe, which has seen thousands of asylum seekers arrive on the continent, to “slip into” France unnoticed.

A draft resolution for Friday’s EU meeting says ministers will agree to implement “necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement”.

This means EU citizens, along with non-EU citizens, will have their passports checked against a database of known or suspected terrorists and those involved in organized crime.

Ministers will also consider cracking down on the movement of firearms within the EU, the collection of passenger data for those taking internal flights and also the blocking funding for terrorists.

The key to all of this will be the cooperation and sharing of intelligence and information between EU countries.