What we know about the Paris attackers

Suspected Mastermind of Paris Attacks Identified
Suspected Mastermind of Paris Attacks Identified



Authorities believe that ISIS-linked extremists were behind the brutal attacks that killed 129 people and injured another 352 on Friday night in Paris, and details about the attackers and their possible accomplices are continuing to emerge. Here's what we know so far.

The Latest

• Intelligence officials believe that the attackers communicated with, and were possibly trained by, Syria-based members of ISIS.
A manhunt is underway for 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, one of three brothers suspected of involvement in the attack.
Five of the dead attackers have been identified, including one of Abdeslam's brothers.
• French police conducted raids on suspected radical Islamists on Monday, searching 168 houses across the country. They made dozens of arrests and seized arms including rocket launchers.

Photos of the anti-terrorism raids across Europe:

How the Attacks Were Carried Out
According to Paris prosecutor François Molins, the assailants split themselves into three coordinated teams. One group headed to the Stade de France, another went to the Bataclan concert hall in a black Volkswagen Polo, and a third group traveling in a SEAT León hatchback fired on multiple locations.

The Stade de France Attackers
The Paris attacks began around 9:20 p.m. when one of three terrorists blew himself up at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. The first two suicide bombings happened outside the stadium, and the third by a nearby McDonalds. One civilian was killed in these bombings. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that one of the three attackers had a ticket for the France-Germany soccer match that was underway and detonated his suicide belt after being turned away at one of the stadium's entrances. Police suspect his aim was to blow himself up in the stadium so as to cause a deadly stampede among the crowd.

Le Bataclan Attackers
Another three men perpetrated the siege of the Bataclan concert hall, resulting in the systematic slaughter of at least 89 people who were attending a sold-out rock concert — the deadliest attack of the night. Witnesses said the attackers seemed very young, were wearing tight black clothing, carried Kalashnikov rifles, reportedly shouted "Allahu akbar," and mentioned Syria and Iraq during the attack. When police commandos finally raided the concert hall, two of the attackers were killed when they detonated their suicide vests, and the third was shot and killed by police.

The Restaurant Attackers
The third group drove around to several restaurants and cafes in Paris'stenth and 11th arrondissements. They first opened fire on diners at Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge, killing 15 people and seriously wounding ten others. Then they killed five people and critically wounded eight at Café Bonne Bière. Next they killed 19 people and critically wounded nine at La Belle Equipe. There was also a suicide bombing that seriously wounded one person at the Comptoir Voltaire restaurant.

The Attackers Had Direct Links to ISIS
According to several reports, the Paris attackers had communicated with Syria-based members of ISIS, as opposed to just having been inspired by the group. French and American officials told the New York Times that "the attackers had operated with high levels of sophistication," suggesting that "the plot involved considerable planning and input from an organized group." Meanwhile, Iraqi intelligence officials told the AP that, "The Paris attacks appear to have been planned in Raqqa, Syria — the Islamic State's de-facto capital — where the attackers were trained specifically for this operation and with the intention of sending them to France. Officials also said a sleeper cell in France then met with the attackers after their training and helped them to execute the plan."

Seven Attackers Killed, Manhunt on for Eighth
As many as 20 people may have planned the attacks, according to the Washington Post. At least seven men were directly involved in carrying them out, and seven were killed, six by detonating their explosive suicide vests, and one after being shot by police. Until midday Saturday, reports had indicated there were eight assailants who had been killed, but only seven confirmed dead. On Sunday, authorities said the eighth possible attacker is actually alive, and an international manhunt is now underway. Here's what we know about each of the alleged attackers:

1. Salah Abdeslam
French police say the 26-year-old Belgian-born French national is still at large. His role in the attacks is unclear. Authorities describe Abdeslam as "dangerous" and have warned citizens not to try and apprehend him if they see him. Abdeslam is one of three brothers believed to be involved in the attacks. His older brother Ibrahim Abdeslam was one of the Paris suicide bombers, and his other brother, Mohamed, was arrested in Belgium. The AP reports that French authorities had stopped Salah near the Belgian border on Saturday morning, but let him and his two passengers go after checking his ID.



2. Ibrahim Abdeslam
Investigators say Ibrahim Abdeslam is the suicide bomber who struck the Comptoir Voltaire cafe. Le Monde reported that he rented the black SEAT León, but it's unclear if he was in the vehicle during the attacks. The car was found abandoned in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil with three Kalashnikov automatic rifles inside, as well as several full and empty magazines.

3. Ismaïl Omar Mostefai
Mostefai, a 29-year-old French national, blew himself up after murdering spectators in the Bataclan concert hall. Mostefai grew up in Courcouronnes, a suburb of Paris, and his family moved to Chartres when he was in his teens. He was arrested for eight minor offenses between 2004 and 2010, and he caught the attention of French intelligence in 2010 due to his association with radical Islamists at a mosque in the city of Lucé. A French police official says they lost track of him in winter 2013, and they believe he traveled to Syria around that time.

Six people connected to Mostefai have now been detained by authorities, including his father, brother, and sister in law. Mostefai's younger brother told the AFP that he hadn't seen him in years, adding, "It's crazy, insane. I was in Paris myself [Friday] night, I saw what a mess it was."

See photos of the suspects in the Paris attacks:

4. Bilal Hadfi
Like Mostefai, Bilal Hadfi recently traveled to Syria, and it's believed that he fought with ISIS. The 20-year-old French national returned to Belgium from the Middle East before intelligence agencies there lost track of him. He was one of the three suicide bombers who hit the Stade de France.

5. Samy Amimour
On Monday, the Paris prosecutor's office identified two more suicide bombers. One was Samy Amimour, a 28-year-old Frenchman who blew himself up in the Bataclan music hall. According to the AP, he was charged in a 2012 terrorism investigation and placed under judicial supervision, but authorities lost track of him. There was an international warrant out for his arrest.

6. Ahmad Al Mohammad
A Syrian passport with the name Ahmad Al Mohammad was found with one of the suicide bombers at the soccer stadium, and Greek officials say that the same passport had been registered by a refugee in Greece. This raises the possibility that at least one of the attackers may have entered Europe as a migrant. On Saturday, the Serbian newspaper Blic reported that the passport belonged to a 25-year old Syrian born in Idlib, and published this scan:

Blic also reports that the man carrying this passport entered Serbia on October 7, after having entered Greece on October 3. Additional reporting by The Guardian indicates the passport was then scanned again in Croatia and Austria after that.

On Monday, the Paris prosecutor's office confirmed that the passport was found at the scene, and said the attacker's fingerprints match those of someone who traveled through Greece in October. Other details about his travels through Europe have not been confirmed.

It is worth noting that due to the value of Syrian passports in the migrant community, it's possible that the passport's original owner and the attacker are not the same person, just as it's possible the passport was stolen or could be a forgery. Regardless, this connection is sure to become a political wildfire in Europe, which is in the midst of the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. (Earlier reports had indicated that two Syria passports were found among the Paris attackers, but there now seems to have been only one.)

7. and 8. Unidentified Attackers
An anonymous French senator said two attackers at Stade de France were found with fake Turkish passports, but that has not been confirmed.

Seven Arrested in Belgium
At least seven arrests have been made in Brussels of people suspected of having connections to the attacks. The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday that, according to U.S. law enforcement officials, French authorities now believe that the attack was planned and financed within a small terrorist cell in Brussels, likely incorporating several participants who had experience living in Paris, based on the sophistication of Friday's assault. The investigation in Brussels has focused on the district of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, where multiple raids seem to have been conducted by police. Belgian authorities also announced on Sunday that at least two of the Paris attackers were French and had been living in Belgium.

TATP Explosives Used in Suicide Vests
According to a Paris prosecutor, all of the attackers wore explosives that were made from triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a favorite explosive material among terrorists that is easy to make and difficult to detect. It was also the type of explosive used by failed shoe bomber Richard Reid in 2001.

Possible Connection in Germany
In addition, German authorities reportedly believe that a 51-year-old Montenegrin man who was arrested in Germany on November 5 may be somehow linked to the Paris attacks. He was found in possession of firearms and a car full of explosives, and his car's GPS navigator was reportedly set to take him to Paris.

Raids Conducted Across France, Leading to Dozens of Arrests
French authorities raided the homes of suspected radical Islamists across the country on Monday, searching 168 houses. Prime Minister Manuel Valls said French intelligence services foiled five attacks since the summer, and warned that terrorists could strike again "in the coming days or weeks." "We know that more attacks are being prepared, not just against France but also against other European countries," he said on RTL radio.

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that 23 people were arrested in the raids, and police seized arms including rocket launchers. In the last two days, 104 people have been put under house arrest. He added that "war" has been declared on France, and, "Anybody who attacks the Republic, the Republic will fight back."

More from Daily Intelligencer:
The Republican Presidential Candidates Share Their Takeaways from the Paris Attacks
5 Guantánamo Detainees Transferred to United Arab Emirates
What the Paris Attacks Reveal About the New Threat of ISIS