PARIS: The Islamic State jihadist suspected of masterminding the Paris attacks was killed during a major police raid, prosecutors confirmed Thursday, as French lawmakers voted to extend a state of emergency imposed after the carnage.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed in Wednesday´s assault by elite police units on an apartment in northern Paris, which left at least two people dead.
Police staged a ferocious seven-hour assault in the north of Paris on Wednesday after intelligence led investigators to an apartment where Abdelhamid Abaaoud of orchestrating the worst ever militant attack on French soil was thought to be hiding.
Handprint analysis was used to identify the Belgian´s body, which was found among the rubble of the shattered building after officers rained fire and grenades on the jihadists in a seven-hour siege.
Prosecutor Francois Molins said Wednesday that the raid in Saint-Denis had stopped a “new team of terrorists” who were ready to launch another attack in a city still mourning 129 dead.
At least two bodies were found after the ferocious shootout, including what is thought to be a woman who detonated an explosives vest.
The French prosecutors office on Thursday announced that Abdelhamid Abaaoud was among those killed in the raid in Saint-Denis.
“Abdelhamid Abaaoud has just been formally identified… as having been killed during the raid” the Paris prosecutor´s office said in a statement.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he welcomed the death of “one of the masterminds” of the attacks.
Valls warned of the dangers still faced by France as lawmakers voted on extending an extraordinary package of security measures for three months. “We must not rule anything out,” Valls said.
He called on France´s European Union partners to urgently adopt measures to share airline passenger information.
The decision by lawmakers Thursday means the state of emergency will be in place for three months from November 26.
The measures include allowing police to carry weapons when they are off duty and use them in the event of an attack — providing they wear a police armband to avoid “any confusion”, according to a directive seen by media.
French MPs also voted to allow the government to block websites and social media under the state of emergency.
On Wednesday rumours were rife that Abdelhamid Abaaoud was among those killed during the raid however Paris prosecutor Francois Molins had told journalists that it was “impossible to give the identities” of the two suspected jihadists killed in the assault.
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