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From: Fox News
The man widely known as the suspected mastermind of last Friday’s Paris attacks that killed 129 people, who bragged that he could always stay one step ahead of Western intelligence, was killed in the police raid north of Paris Wednesday.
Officials also confirmed that his cousin was killed, when she apparently blew herself up.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, had been linked to as many as four thwarted attacks since this spring, including the plot to kill passengers on a Paris-bound high-speed train in August, a plot that three young Americans helped foil. He was identified from skin samples after the Saint-Denis apartment raid, the French prosecutor’s office reported.
Later Thursday, police in the eastern French city of Charleville-Mezieres blew open a door to enter a house during a new raid.
French police are looking for anything that could be linked to jihadi networks or illegal weapons. Police spokeswoman Mathilde Coulon would not give further details about the Thursday evening raid.
Abaaoud had claimed he successfully moved back and forth from Europe to Syria coordinating terror attacks, and narrowly escaped a January police raid in the Belgian city of Verviers. “Allah blinded their vision and I was able to leave… despite being chased after by so many intelligence agencies,” he told the ISIS magazine Dabiq.
Two counterterrorism sources tell Fox News his death marks a major advance for the investigation, but add they are operating on the premise that more senior suspects connected to the plot are still out there.
They describe Abaaoud as the “Mohammed Atta” of the Paris attacks, the “tactical guy” who identified and pulled together the operatives, in the same way the lead hijacker kept the 9/11 teams on course.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud. (Militant Photo via AP)