Paris Terror Attacks: Picture of female suicide bomber released as police describe terrifying moment they confronted her in Saint Denis carnage
France 'at risk of chemical warfare attack by IS' as forensic experts seek to identify if IS mastermind Abaaoud was 'killed' in raid
Published 19/11/2015 | 09:00
The head of the elite police unit that raided a jihadist safe house in Paris has described the moment a female suicide bomber detonated her explosive vest on the third floor of a Saint-Denis apartment block.
A picture has been released a picture of the female suicide bomber who has been named in local media as Hasna Aitboulahcen (26), a cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
The picture first appeared on BFMTV in Paris.
The boss of RAID Jean-Michel Fauvergue has said the woman jumped in the air "hoping that the force of the explosion would affect us [police]" on the street below.
The velocity of the explosion was so brutal the bomber's head landed on the pavement amid rubble and shattered glass.
"Then we saw a human body, a woman's head through the window and landed on the sidewalk street side,” added Mr Fauvergue.
The daring early morning siege saw police in a brutal seven-hour shootout and exchanging grenade fire with the terror cell believed to be linked with Fridays atrocities in the French capital.
RAID members say they "tiptoed" to the third-floor where they found a security door blocking the apartment.
Mr Fauvergue said his team knew almost nothing about the apartment only the address and that "three people," including "a woman" may be present inside.
"We have chosen to open the armored door with explosives to take advantage of the stunning effect. It did not. The door resisted, and we lost our element of surprise ", he explained to French media.
"We lost the element of surprise which to us was our most important weapon. We knew there were probably people equipped with weapons of war, so this was important", he added.
He said the explosion had caused load bearing walls in the building to collapse and that a terror suspect had made an attempt to hide under rubble before detection.
Hasna Aitboulahcen, (26) was the cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind behind Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris and the main target of Wednesday's operation.
Minutes before her death, Aitboulahcen was seen making a telephone call, possibly to alert accomplices who were still in the area. Aitboulahcen, 26, was the cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind behind Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris and the main target of Wednesday's operation.
Today, the French National Assembly voted on Thursday to extend the state of emergency for three months following the massacre in Paris by militant Islamists in which 129 people died last Friday.
The government initially imposed the state of emergency on Saturday, giving police extended powers to search and detain suspects.
The French Senate is expected to debate and approve the extension on Friday, after which it can go into effect.
Earlier today, France could face the risk of chemical or bacterial warfare in its fight against Islamist militants, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Thursday.
"We must not rule anything out. I say it with all the precautions needed. But we know and bear in mind that there is also a risk of chemical or bacteriological weapons," Valls told parliament.
"The macabre imagination of the masterminds is limitless," he said in a speech in the lower house of parliament.
Meanwhile, Belgian authorities have launched six raids in the Brussels region linked to Paris suicide bomber Bilal Hadfi.
French forensic experts today will be continuing their work to identify whether the Isil mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was the man killed in the police raid yesterday.
Earlier today, France urged the international community to do more to eradicate the Islamic State group after the deadly attacks in Paris that rattled the Western world.
Foreign minister Laurent Fabius told France-Inter radio that IS is "a monster", adding: "But if all the countries in the world aren't capable of fighting against 30,000 people (IS members), it's incomprehensible."
The group claimed responsibility for Friday's attacks on a rock concert, cafes and France's national stadium that killed at least 129 people.
France has stepped up its air strikes against extremists in Syria since the attack, and President Francois Hollande is going to Washington and Moscow next week to push for a stronger international coalition against IS.
Meanwhile, Belgian prime minister Charles Michel has announced a package of additional anti-terror measures in the wake of the attacks.
Mr Michel said €400m would be earmarked to expand the anti-terror fight
He told legislators in a special announcement that personnel involved in security would be increased, and said special attention would be paid to eradicating messages of hate.
Mr Michel also called for more international co-operation.