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Paris terror attacks: Mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud ...

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Originally published on 19 November, 2015

Two senior European intelligence officials said that the mastermind of the deadly Paris terror attacks last week, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed during massive pre-dawn raids in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.

According to the New York Times, at least five people were found in a third-floor apartment on a small street in Saint-Denis called Rue du Corbillon. Authorities believe the mastermind of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, might have been in the apartment at the time.

According to CNN, police first raided an apartment that had been under surveillance since Tuesday, before raiding another apartment on the same street where officers met fierce resistance. The suspects, including a female suicide bomber, opened fire at the police when officers entered the building. Police returned fire and more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition were fired.

The female suspect set off her explosive vest, killing herself and a seven-year-old police dog named Diesel. A male suspect was killed by police gunfire and by a grenade during the raids.

Police arrested eight people in the raids and found multiple weapons in one of the flats including Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosive belts. The group reportedly planned to launch attacks on Charles de Gaulle Airport and the Quartre Temps shopping mall in La Defense, a modern financial district in western Paris.

It has not yet been officially confirmed whether or not Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed during Wednesday’s raids as authorities are still trying to determine the suspects’ identities, CNN and the New York Times reported.

The raids in Saint-Denis took place after authorities found a mobile phone allegedly disposed by an attacker in a garbage can near the Bataclan Concert hall. The phone’s data contained a map of the concert hall, a text message saying “Let’s go, we’re starting,” which was sent moments before the attack, and details about an apartment in Alfortville, which was rented by Salah Abdeslam, the suspect who is still at large.

French authorities said police officers have conducted 414 raids across the country in the past three nights. Sixty people have been arrested and 118 people were put under house arrest, the New York Times reported.

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