The suspected ringleader in last week’s bloody terrorist attacks in Paris was killed in a pre-dawn raid Wednesday on an apartment building north of the French capital, the Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed Thursday.
Authorities zeroed in on a building in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis after picking up phone conversations indicating that a relative of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who authorities believe coordinated the shootings and bombings that killed 129 people, may have been there, a Belgian counterterrorism official said. French police believed Abaaoud himself was then still in the country, though they didn’t know exactly where.
It turns out Abaaoud was in that building in Saint-Denis. And after a violent firefight that included explosions and gunfire, he was dead.
In a statement released Thursday, the Paris prosecutor’s office said that Abaaoud’s body was found in the Saint-Denis building riddled with bullets. The office said that he has since been positively identified.
Police fired around 5,000 rounds of ammunition in the Wednesday morning confrontation, an operation that suggested authorities were making headway in their investigations into Friday’s terrorist rampage across Paris but also fed fears of more violence in a city already on edge.
By the time the dust settled and the standoff came to an end, two suspects and a police dog were dead, eight people were in custody, and five police officers were slightly wounded.