Ringleader of Paris attacks planned more strikes, mocked open borders

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(Reuters) -- The ringleader behind the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris had plans to strike Jewish targets and to disrupt schools and the transport system in France, according to sources close to the investigation.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian national of Moroccan origin, also boasted of the ease with which he had re-entered Europe from Syria via Greece two months earlier, exploiting the confusion of the migrant crisis and the continent's passport-free Schengen system, the sources said on Friday.

Their comments, confirming excerpts from a confidential police witness statement leaked to a French magazine this week, fleshed out a picture of the Islamic State militant who spearheaded the Nov. 13 attacks targeting cafes, a concert hall and sports stadium in Paris in which 130 people were killed.

See images of the Paris attack suspects:

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Suspects in the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Salah Abdeslam, Ahmad Almohammad
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Ringleader of Paris attacks planned more strikes, mocked open borders
This undated image made available in the Islamic State's English-language magazine Dabiq, shows Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Abaaoud the Belgian jihadi suspected of masterminding deadly attacks in Paris was killed in a police raid on a suburban apartment building, the city prosecutor's office announced Thursday Nov. 1, 2015. Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins' office said 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud was identified based on skin samples. His body was found in the apartment building targeted in the chaotic and bloody raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis on Wednesday. (Militant photo via AP)
This undated image made available in the Islamic State's English-language magazine Dabiq, shows Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Abaaoud, the child of Moroccan immigrants who grew up in the Belgian capital’s Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighborhood, was identified by French authorities on Monday Nov. 16, 2015, as the presumed mastermind of the terror attacks last Friday in Paris that killed over a hundred people and injured hundreds more. (Militant Photo via AP)
This undated image taken from a Militant Website on Monday Nov. 16, 2015 showing Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. A French official says Abdelhamid Abaaoud is the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks was also linked to thwarted train and church attacks. (Militant video via AP)
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected mastermind of the #ParisAttacks was "interviewed" in #ISIS's Dabiq magazine https://t.co/wSKmztFfn5
BREAKING: Third Bataclan attacker identified as Foued Mohamed-Aggad https://t.co/FYwEykV9Kp https://t.co/7g6vH7gvwH
This undated photo released late Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, by Greece's migration policy ministry shows a registration photo from a document issued to 25-year old Ahmad Almohammad, holder of a Syrian passport found near a dead assailant in the scene of a Paris attack Friday. The document was issued on Sunday, Oct. 4 by authorities on the Greek island of Leros, where the man arrived a day earlier on a frail boat carrying migrants over from Turkey. It protects him from deportation for six months, and is the same documentation routinely issued to thousands of newly-arrived migrants. (Greek Migration Ministry via AP)
This undated photo released late Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, by Greece's migration policy ministry shows a document issued to 25-year old Ahmad Almohammad, holder of a Syrian passport found near a dead assailant in the scene of a Paris attack Friday. The document was issued on Sunday, Oct. 4 by authorities on the Greek island of Leros, where the man arrived a day earlier on a frail boat carrying migrants over from Turkey. It protects him from deportation for six months, and is the same documentation routinely issued to thousands of newly-arrived migrants. On the right is a copy of his fingerprints, taken on Saturday, Oct. 3. (Greek Migration Policy Ministry via AP)

This undated file photo provided by French Police shows 26-year old Salah Abdeslam, who is wanted by police in connection with recent terror attacks in Paris, as police investigations continue Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. French police released the wanted notice and photo of the suspect on the run since the attacks in Paris on Friday. The notice, released on the France National Police Twitter account, says anyone seeing Salah Abdeslam, should consider him dangerous. (Police Nationale via AP)

This undated file photo released Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, by French Police shows 26-year old Salah Abdeslam, who is wanted by police in connection with recent terror attacks in Paris, as police investigations continue. The notice, released on the national police Twitter account, says anyone seeing Salah Abdeslam, should consider him dangerous and call authorities immediately. The notice reads in French: "Call for witnesses - Police are hunting a suspect : Salah Abdeslam, born on Sept. 15, 1989 Brussels, Belgium. ...Dangerous individual don't intervene yourself". (Police Nationale via AP)
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The witness statement, quoted in the Valeurs Actuelles weekly magazine, describes how Abaaoud approached his cousin Hasna Ait Boulahcen two days after the killing spree asking her to hide him while he prepared further attacks.

Both Abaaoud and Boulahecen died on Nov. 18 in a shootout with police in St. Denis north of Paris at an apartment where the militant Islamist had been staying.

Speaking of the planned future attacks, Abaaoud told his cousin on Nov. 15 that "they would do worse (damage) in districts close to the Jews and would disrupt transport and schools", the witness statement said.

Abaaoud said he would give Boulahecen 5,000 euros ($5,289.50) to buy two suits and two pairs of shoes for him and an unidentified accomplice to "look the part" in a planned attack on Paris' commercial district La Defense.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins confirmed on Tuesday the militants had been plotting to attack La Defense on Nov. 18. Reuters had previously reported the planned attack.

The witness statement also described how Abaaoud had boasted about slipping into Europe with refugees fleeing Syria's civil war and then spending two months in France undetected prior to the Nov. 13 attacks.

"France -- zero," it quoted him as saying.

On Friday, the Paris prosecutor's office said it would open a preliminary investigation into how the confidential police witness statement was leaked to the press.

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