Tags: paris | attack | belgian | mastermind

Western Allies Targeted Paris Mastermind in Failed Airstrike

Western Allies Targeted Paris Mastermind in Failed Airstrike

By    |   Tuesday, 17 November 2015 08:45 AM

France and its allies tried to target suspected Paris attack ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud even before last Friday's deadly assaults in Syria in hopes of killing him in an airstrike, but were not able to track him down, intelligence sources are saying.

The Belgian citizen, a prominent member of the Islamic State, is said to be close to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was at the time thought to be in Syria, reports The Wall Street Journal Tuesday.

Abaaoud had already been implicated in planning several terrorist attacks in Western Europe before Friday night's attacks on a concert venue, restaurants and at a soccer stadium that left 129 people dead and injured hundreds more.

He was also linked to a plot to launch attacks to behead Belgian police officers, which was blocked in January. His exploits have also been featured in ISIS' online English-language magazine, Dabiq, which mocked European authorities for their failure to catch him reports International Business Times.

Abaaoud escaped to Syria in January after the plot was foiled, reports The Wall Street Journal, and was being watched as part of a plan to kill ISIS militants who were recruiting Westerners. He was convicted in absentia in Brussels earlier this year on the recruitment charges. However, officials told the publication that they did not know about the Paris plot when they were trying to have Abaaoud killed, and do not know if killing him then would have prevented the Paris massacres, as another ISIS member could have stepped in and taken over.

After the January plot was foiled, Abaaoud's father told a newspaper that his son had shamed their family and destroyed their lives. "Why in the name of God, would he want to kill innocent Belgians? Our family owes everything to this country," Omar Abaaoud, whose family moved to Belgium 40 years ago from Morocco, told the La Derniere Heure newspaper.

"We had a wonderful life, yes, even a fantastic life here. Abdelhamid was not a difficult child and became a good businessman," the father was quoted as saying. "But suddenly he left for Syria. I wondered every day how he became radicalized to this point. I never got an answer," said the father of six children who lives in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, a working class neighborhood of Brussels.

"Abdelhamid has brought shame on our family. Our lives have been destroyed," he said.

Also last year, a video came out of him in Syria that showed him driving a truck and smiling as he dragged around the dead bodies of ISIS opponents, tied to the truck's bumper, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Investigators are also looking for Salah Abdeslam, 26, a French citizen also suspected of being involved in the Paris attacks, reports CNN. Authorities believe Abdeslam rented a car that was used in the attacks, and that he drove some of the suicide bombers through Paris.

According to The Wall Street Journal, French prosecutors said police stopped Abdeslam, with two other men, on their way to Brussels but a background check did not show he'd rented the vehicle found outside the Bataclan night club, where most of the Paris victims on Friday were killed.

Abdeslam and Abaaoud had lived within a few blocks of each other in Brussels, and were in prison together, said a Belgian official.

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Headline
France and its allies tried to target suspected Paris attack ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud even before last Friday's deadly assaults in Syria in hopes of killing him in an airstrike, but were not able to track him down, intelligence sources are saying. The Belgian citizen,...
paris, attack, belgian, mastermind
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2015-45-17
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 08:45 AM
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