Saturday, November 28, 2020

Paris attacks: severed finger found at Bataclan theatre identifies attacker

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Crime Scene Officer and Fingerprint Expert with over 12 years experience in Crime Scene Investigation and Latent Print Analysis. The opinions or assertions contained on this site are the private views of the author and are not to be construed as those of any professional organisation or policing body.
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A severed finger at the site of the Bataclan theatre reportedly led French authorities to identify the first of seven terrorists responsible for killing 129 people and wounding 352 in a string of attacks across Paris on Friday night.

Multiple sources have identified to French media one killer as Omar Ismaïl Mostefai, a 29-year-old of Algerian origin.

He was one of three gunmen to storm the Bataclan theatre.

Mostefai’s former home and birthplace in Courcouronnes, a town in Essonnes south of Paris, was searched on Saturday. Jean-Pierre Georges, a French MP, said the alleged terrorist also lived in Chartres, in south-west Paris, until 2012.

Mostefai had a criminal record, convicted of eight crimes between 2004 and 2010, but was never jailed. He was flagged as a radicalisation risk by French intelligence in 2010, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Saturday.

His brother and father have been taken into police custody and had their homes searched. His brother, 34, told Agence France-Presse before his arrest he had not seen Mostefai for several years.

“It’s crazy, insane. I was in Paris myself last night, I saw what a mess it was,” he said.

The last he knew, Mostefai had gone to Algeria with his family and his “little girl”, he said, adding: “It’s been a time since I have had any news.”

“I called my mother, she didn’t seem to know anything,” he said on Saturday.

A source close to the inquiry said Mostefai regularly attended a mosque in Luce, close to Chartres.

The brother’s wife was also taken into custody, AFP said. Judicial sources also told the agency investigators are trying to find out whether Mostefai travelled to Syria in 2014.

Mostefai drove to the theatre on Friday in a black or grey Volkswagen Polo registered in Belgium. The other two gunmen involved in the attack on the venue are yet to be identified.

A second team of three attacked the Stade de France. A Syrian passport was found near the body of one alleged terrorist at the stadium, traced to a migrant, born in 1990, who crossed into the European Union via the Greek island of Leros on 3 October, according to Greece’s citizen protection minister, Nikos Toskas.

French television station Metropole 6 has named the passport-holder, but its claim is yet to be confirmed by investigators.

An Egyptian passport was found at the scene of the Stade de France bombings, the French newspaper Liberation also reported.

At least one of the attackers had a ticket to the France-Germany friendly underway at the stadium and tried to gain entry, detonating his explosives vest after he was discovered, the Wall Street Journal said.

The identities of the two other Stade de France bombers remain unknown, as does that of a seventh bomber, who blew himself up on a bustling street near the Bataclan theatre, injuring one person.

Reuters has reported that a second Syrian refugee may have been among the gunmen. Serbian media have named a 25-year-old as a suspect, claiming he entered Greece on 3 October and then crossed into Serbia from Macedonia on 7 October.

However, a Greek official has told the Guardian there was no indication “whatsoever” the second Syrian entered Europe via Greece. “These reports are untrue and need clarification,” the official said.

“We are unable, whatsoever, to confirm the existence of a second person who may have been involved in the attacks coming through Greece. Earlier we were given a serial number which was specific and which we could match.

“In this case we and other European countries were given a name. As an EU member state we did out best to match it but discovered there were four or five names that were very similar and so were unable to.”

Six suspected accomplices have also been arrested. Three French nationals living in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek were detained after raids on Saturday. Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, said one of those arrested may have been in Paris on Friday.

Three more were arrested on Saturday at France’s border with Belgium in a vehicle allegedly used in the attacks.

Meanwhile authorities in Munich have said a 51-year-old Montenegrin man arrested on 5 November near the Austrian border may have been trying to supply arms and explosives to the Paris attackers.
Officials found a pistol under the bonnet of his car, prompting them to take the vehicle apart. Concealed in the car’s bodywork they found automatic weapons, 200 grammes of dynamite, hand grenades and ammunition, according to Bavarian public radio.
Examination of the suspect’s mobile phone and the car’s GPS system indicated he was en route to Paris.
Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian interior minister, said his department was “intensively investigating together with the French authorities whether there is a connection with the events in Paris”.

Source: The Guardian

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