A 28-year-old Belgian, Abaaoud Abdelhamid, is reportedly the mastermind behind this weekend's mayhem in Paris, according to French intelligence. He had been a target since January after allegedly plotting to murder Belgian police and has been on the run ever since.
As details emerged of an elaborate international terror operation run from Syria and carried out by a sleeper cell based in Belgium, officials told French media Abaaoud, seen as one of Islamic State’s most active operatives, was “investigators’ best bet” as the main organiser of the attacks, which killed at least 129 people on Friday.
More evidence reveals Abdelhamid fought alongside ISIS in Syria and recruited others to join in the effort. The suspect has been linked to a series of other terror plots.
Abaaoud was also linked by French officials to the thwarted attacks on a Paris-bound high-speed train in August and a foiled plot to attack a church in Paris in April. The French newspaper Libération also linked him to Sid Ahmed Ghlam, a French student charged with murder, attempted murder and terror offences.
Le Monde offers an important profile of him that highlights his violent past. (Don't worry, there's a "translate" button.)
The death toll in Paris is now 132.