- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The alleged organizer of last week’s Paris terror attacks, who had been thought to be in the Middle East, is the target of the Wednesday morning police raid in Saint-Denis.

Agence France-Presse reported early Wednesday that the shootout “follows police raid on suspected Paris attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud.”

Mr. Abaaoud is a Belgian of Moroccan descent who leads an Islamic State external operations cell of which U.S. intelligence agencies were aware.

“He is believed to be in Islamic State-held territory in Syria,” the Associated Press reported as late as 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Mr. Abaaoud grew up in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, which is overwhelmingly Muslim and already had been identified as the epicenter of planning for the Paris attacks that killed 129 people last week.

He also has been linked to multiple thwarted terror attacks, including the attack on a Paris-bound high-speed train that three Americans fought off in August, and a foiled attack on a church in a Parisian suburb.

SEE ALSO: France anti-terror raids: Gunfire breaks out in Saint-Denis


• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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