The suspected mastermind behind the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 last Friday was killed in a police raid on Wednesday, according to a Paris prosecutor.
The suspect, Abdel Hamid Abaaoud, a 28-year-old Belgian militant, was killed after police investigations led them to the Paris suburb of St. Denis and “heavily armed officers stormed the building before dawn, triggering a massive firefight and multiple explosions.”
“Abdel Hamid Abaaoud has just been formally identified, after comparing fingerprints, as having been killed during the raid,” Paris Prosecutor François Molins said in a statement. “It was the body we had discovered in the building, riddled with bullets.”
Police “fired around 5,000 rounds of ammunition in the confrontation and used strong munitions that spurred a floor to collapse,” but that the exact way Abaaoud died is unknown.
The statement from Molins claimed “We still don’t know whether Abaaoud blew himself up or not.”
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There was one other fatality in Wednesday’s St. Denis raid: a woman identified as Hasna Aitboulahcen.
Three police officials have reportedly said Aitboulahcen was Abaaoud’s cousin, and one official said she is “believed to have detonated a suicide vest after a brief exchange with police officers.”
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Following the attacks last Friday, France declared a “state of emergency” which gave the government the authority to utilize censorship, regulate circulation and gathering in some areas, close places of gathering altogether, and to conduct house-to-house searches at any time without judicial oversight.
At an assembly meeting, where a three-month extension of the “state of emergency” status was being debated, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that “we must not rule anything out” when looking at the prospect of terrorists “using chemical weapons.”
“France has been attacked,” Valls said. “French people are under shock. They are expecting from all of us some strong, quick and effective reactions.”