Tapped phone led Paris attack leader to his death

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Cellphone Video Shows Suicide Bombing Blast During Paris Raid


Police watched the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks being led by a woman into an apartment the evening before both died there in a raid by special forces, a police source said on Friday.

SEE ALSO: US security response to Paris attacks likely can't stop ISIS

After a tip-off from Morocco that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of Islamic State's most high-profile European recruits, was in France, police honed in on Hasna Aitboulahcen, a woman already under surveillance who was known to have links to him.

Police tapping her phone as part of a drugs investigation tracked her to the St. Denis suburb north of Paris, also home to the stadium where three suicide bombers blew themselves up during last Friday's attacks that killed 130 people.

They watched the 26-year-old woman take Abaaoud into the St. Denis building on Tuesday evening. In the early hours of Wednesday, police launched an assault that lasted seven hours.

See images from the raid:

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Suicide bomber detonates during French police raid in Paris, Saint-Denis
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Tapped phone led Paris attack leader to his death
Forensics of the French police search for evidences outside a building in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, on November 18, 2015, where French Police special forces raided an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. French police said the assault had concluded on an apartment in northern Paris on Wednesday in which at least two jihadists were killed and seven arrested. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
A second body is removed from the apartment raided by French Police special forces earlier in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, on November 18, 2015, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. French police said the assault had concluded on an apartment in northern Paris in which at least two jihadists were killed and seven arrested. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Forensics of the French police search for evidences outside a building in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, on November 18, 2015, where French Police special forces raided an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. French police said the assault had concluded on an apartment in northern Paris on Wednesday in which at least two jihadists were killed and seven arrested. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Forensic experts examine the scene in Saint-Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Two men carry a stretcher with a body into a hearse after an intervention of security forces against a group of extremists in Saint-Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Hooded police officers detain a man in Saint-Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Hooded police officers detain a man in Saint-Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Police forces operate in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Police say two suspects in last week's Paris attacks, a man and a woman, have been killed in a police operation north of the capital. Two police officers have been injured in the standoff. Police have said the operation is targeting the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks, believed to be holed up in an apartment in Saint-Denis with several other heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Policemen and firefighters are pictured in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: French Police Forensics officers work on Rue des Corbillon in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis following a raid on an apartment on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: The damaged building that was raided earlier in the morning is pictured on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: The damaged building that was raided earlier in the morning is pictured on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: The damaged building that was raided earlier in the morning is pictured on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: Forensics of the French police are seen on 'Rue du Corbillon' in Saint-Denis, on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)
Inhabitants leave the security perimeter set in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents are evacuated in Saint Denis, near Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's gun and bomb rampage was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
French police officers storm a church after a raid in Paris suburb Saint-Denis, Wednesday, Nov.18, 2015. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up Wednesday as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A man is evacuated after being arrested by French policemen in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A man is evacuated after being arrested by French policemen in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A man is evacuated after being arrested by French policemen in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Policemen and firemen are pictured in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 18: Medical staff transfer people to local hospital from the site of this morning's police raid on November 18, 2015 in Saint-Denis, France. French Police special forces raided an apartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted during the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least five police officers have been wounded in the shootout. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
Police forces operate in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Police say two suspects in last week's Paris attacks, a man and a woman, have been killed in a police operation north of the capital. Two police officers have been injured in the standoff. Police have said the operation is targeting the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks, believed to be holed up in an apartment in Saint-Denis with several other heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Members of the Raid, a special intervention unit of the French police are pictured in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
A French soldier stands guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
An armoured vehicle of a French police intervention unit arrives in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Policemen stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
Passerbies are gatherd in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Policemen take combat position in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Police forces prepare in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of St. Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Members of French police special forces stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer stands guard next to a French soldier in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
French policemenand soldiers stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
French army soldiers stand in position in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers operate in St. Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of St. Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French soldiers are carried in a truck to take combat position in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
French policemen stand guard in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of French police special forces in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents are evacuated by the police in Saint Denis, north of Paris, France, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police operation in Saint-Denis, near Paris on November 18, 2015, five days after Paris terror attacks. Shooting broke out in northern Paris early November 18, 2015 during a dawn raid by police hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago, sources said. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Police operation in Saint-Denis, near Paris on November 18, 2015, five days after the Paris terror attacks. Shooting broke out in northern Paris early November 18, 2015 during a dawn raid by police hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago, sources said. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Police forces prepare in St. Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of St. Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police officers take up positions in Saint Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police forces prepare in Saint Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Christoph Ena)
Police operation in Saint-Denis, near Paris on November 18, 2015, five days after Paris terror attacks. Shooting broke out in northern Paris early November 18, 2015 during a dawn raid by police hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago, sources said. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Police forces prepare in Saint Denis, a northern suburb ofParis, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Saint Denis, a northern suburb ofParis, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Saint Denis, a northern suburb ofParis, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 after reports of a shooting in the northern suburb of St. Denis.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 after reports of a shooting in the northern suburb of St. Denis.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 after reports of a shooting in the northern suburb of St. Denis.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police forces prepare in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 after reports of a shooting in the northern suburb of St. Denis.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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Abaaoud, 28, and Aitboulahcen, who may be his cousin, both died during the gun battle during which French police commandos fired more than 5,000 shots. A third person, who has yet to be identified, died with them.

Officials initially said Aitboulahcen had blown herself up, becoming Europe's first female suicide bomber, but a source close to the investigation said on Friday that a head blasted into the street by an explosive vest was not hers.

One of the police sources also said Abaaoud had been caught on camera at a suburban metro station, after the shootings and at cafes and restaurants in central Paris but while a massacre in the Bataclan concert hall was still underway.

He was seen on closed circuit TV at the Croix de Chavaux station in Montreuil, not far from where one of the cars used in the attacks was found, the source said.

A week after the Paris attacks, French nationals were in the firing line again in Mali when Islamist militants stormed a hotel in the capital Bamako leaving at least 27 people dead although France's defence minister said he was not aware that any French were among those killed.

HOUSE ARRESTS

In response to the Paris attacks, French police carried out raids across the country for a fifth day overnight on Thursday.

So far, police have searched 793 premises, held 90 people for questioning, put 164 under house arrest and recovered 174 weapons including assault rifles and other guns, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

Police searched a mosque in Brest in western France early on Friday. Its imam, Rachid Abou Houdeyfa, who has condemned the Paris attacks, achieved notoriety this year for telling children they could be turned into pigs for listening to music.

In an unusual step, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) - the main umbrella group for mosque associations - and several of its member groups, urged their imams to denounce the attacks in Friday sermons and distributed suggested texts.

A bill to extend a state of emergency imposed a day after the Paris attacks into February and which would give the police more powers, received a final approval from the upper house of parliament on Friday.

Since the attacks, requests for information about joining the French army have surged. Colonel Herve Chene, head of airforce recruitment, said the numbers of people visiting his unit's hiring centres had tripled since last Friday.

DISOWNED

Abaaoud was spotted on the metro station CCTV tape at 10:14 p.m. (2114 GMT) on Friday last week after the initial wave of attacks. Seven assailants died and a suspected eighth person, Salah Abdeslam, is still on the run.

Abaaoud was a petty criminal who went to fight in Syria in 2013 and European governments thought he was still there until Morocco said he was actually in France.

He is believed to have recruited young men to fight for Islamic State from immigrant families in his native Brussels district of Molenbeek and elsewhere in Belgium and France.

Abaaoud appeared in Islamic State's slick online English-language magazine Dabiq, where he boasted of crossing European borders to stage attacks. He claimed to have escaped a continent-wide manhunt after a police raid in Belgium in January in which two militants died.

Islamic State, which controls parts of Iraq and Syria, has attracted thousands of young Europeans and Abaaoud was seen as a leading figure in luring others, particularly from Belgium.

His own family has disowned him, accusing him of abducting his 13-year-old brother, who was later promoted on the Internet as Islamic State's youngest foreign fighter in Syria.

SEE MORE: The complicated origin of ISIS explained

Moroccan authorities, who have detained scores of Islamic State militants in recent months, also arrested Abaaoud's brother Yassine last month after he arrived in Agadir, a Moroccan security source said on Friday.

Morocco's king is in France and met French President Francois Hollande on Friday.

VIA GREECE

While quickly tracking Abaaoud down will be seen as a major success for French authorities, his presence in Paris will focus more attention on the difficulty European security services have in monitoring the continent's borders.

Two of the men who blew themselves up outside the Stade de France stadium last Friday travelled together to Greece and had their fingerprints taken there on Oct. 3, the Paris prosecutor said in a statement on Friday.

EU interior and justice ministers in Brussels on Friday pledged solidarity with France in the wake of the attacks and agreed a series of new measures on surveillance, border checks and gun control.

The 28 governments agreed to speed new legislation to share air passengers' data, curb firearms trafficking and ensure closer checks on EU citizens crossing Europe's external borders.

France has called for changes to the EU's Schengen border-free travel zone to make it tougher to travel across Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people have reached Europe as Syrian refugees in recent months, including at least one person using a passport found at the scene of Friday's attacks.

France has called for a global coalition to defeat the group and has launched air strikes on Raqqa, the de-facto Islamic State capital in northern Syria, since the weekend.

Russia has also targeted the city in retribution for the downing of a Russian airliner last month that killed 224.

The attacks in Mali were another slap in the face for France, which has stationed 3,500 troops in northern Mali that are meant to be restoring stability and security after a Tuareg rebellion was hijacked by al Qaeda linked fighters in 2012.

"It is the same terrorists under different names who are fighting us and who we are fighting. It will be a long war," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters.

(Additional reporting by Chine Labbe, John Irish, Emmanuel Jarry, Alan Charlish and Tom Heneghan in Paris, Pierre-Henri Allain in Rennes, Francesco Guarascio and Alastair Macdonald in Brussels, Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako; writing by Giles Elgood and David Clarke; editing by Anna Willard)

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