Sunday 25 September 2016

Paris Terror Attack: Severed finger used to identify Omar Ismail Mostefai as one of the Paris gunmen

David Kearns

Published 15/11/2015 | 09:44

Flowers and tributes are left close to the Bataclan concert hall where Omar Ismail Mostefai's detached finger was found Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Flowers and tributes are left close to the Bataclan concert hall where Omar Ismail Mostefai's detached finger was found Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The first of the gunmen that left at least 129 people dead in Paris following the worst terrorist attack in French history has been named as Omar Ismail Mostefai.

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The detached finger of the 29-year-old French national was found overnight at the Bataclan concert hall, the scene of the bloodiest attack, and police used it to identify the known extremist.

Although Mostefai had never spent any time in jail, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said he had been identified as a “high-priority target for radicalisation in 2010”.

One of seven gunmen responsible for killing 129 people in near-simultaneous attacks across Paris on Friday evening, the French citizen had been known to police for his alleged links to armed groups but had not been previously linked to violent activities.

Born on 21 November 1985, in the Paris suburb of Courcouronnes, Mostefai’s criminal record shows eight convictions for petty crimes between 2004 and 2010.

French police have confirmed reports that they are holding six of Mostefai's relatives for questioning.

It is understood that these efforts are linked to clarifying reports that the 29-year-old travelled to Syria in 2014.

The AFP news agency reports that his father, brother and sister-in-law are among those in police custody.

A French policeman assists a victim near the Bataclan concert hall following attacks in Paris Credit: Philippe Wojazer (REUTERS)
A French policeman assists a victim near the Bataclan concert hall following attacks in Paris Credit: Philippe Wojazer (REUTERS)
A French policeman assists a victim near the Bataclan concert hall following attacks in Paris Credit: Philippe Wojazer (REUTERS)
Victims walk away outside the Bataclan theater in Paris where well over 100 people were killed in a series of shooting and explosions explosions Credit: Jerome Delay (AP)

"It's crazy, insane. I was in Paris myself last night, I saw what a mess it was," Mostefai's older brother told AFP before being detained after voluntarily attending a police station on Saturday. 

He told AFP that his brother had not been in contact with him for several years following family disputes but said he was shocked to learned that he had been involved in the Paris attacks.

He was one of six children in the family and had travelled to Algeria with his family and young daughter, the brother added.

France has begun three days of national mourning.

Clothes and bandages are seen left in the street near the Bataclan concert hall the morning after a series of deadly attacks in Paris Credit: Charles Platiau (REUTERS)
Clothes and bandages are seen left in the street near the Bataclan concert hall the morning after a series of deadly attacks in Paris Credit: Charles Platiau (REUTERS)

A special service for the families of the victims and survivors will be held at Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral later on Sunday.

Friday's terror attacks, claimed by Islamic State as a response to French air strikes against its holdings in Syria and Iraq, hit a concert hall, a major stadium, restaurants and bars in the French capital.  

A man lies on the ground as French police check his identity near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal shootings in Paris, France Credit: Christian Hartmann (REUTERS)
A man lies on the ground as French police check his identity near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal shootings in Paris, France Credit: Christian Hartmann (REUTERS)

French prosecutors say the attacks were carried out by three coordinated teams of gunmen and suicide bombers.

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