Saturday 24 August 2019

Third body found in Saint Denis flat as Paris attacks death toll hits 130

Investigating police officers are pictured outside Saint Denis, near Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Investigating police officers are pictured outside Saint Denis, near Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
People work inside the damaged building of Wednesday's raid on an apartment in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis

A third body has been found in an apartment raided by police searching for suspects in last week's Paris atrocity, as the French government confirmed the death toll in the attacks has risen to 130.

The prosecutors' office said in a statement that the body found in a flat in Saint-Denis is that of a woman but her identity is unclear.

Authorities have identified one of the three killed in Wednesday's raid in Saint-Denis as the suspected mastermind of the massacres on Friday, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

Prime minister Manuel Valls said later that one more person had died as the result of the attacks in Paris, raising the total to 130.He made the announcement in a speech to the Senate, which is expected to approve a three-month extension to France's state of emergency.

The count does not include any of the attackers who died.

The body of Belgian extremist Abaaoud, 27, was found in the building targeted on Wednesday and was identified based on skin samples, the prosecutor's office said.

Abaaoud ended up near Paris after reportedly being in Syria but officials have not said how he managed to travel across so many borders to the French capital.Authorities have not detailed his exact whereabouts or actions during the deadly rampage that killed 129 people last week in Paris.

Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said France did not know before last week's deadly attacks that Abaaoud was in Europe, but said he was believed to be behind four of six attacks thwarted since spring by French authorities.

Police have said another woman who died in the police raid in Saint-Denis was Abaaoud's cousin.

Hasna Aitboulahcen is believed to have detonated a suicide vest in the building after a brief conversation with police officers.A French security official said Abaaoud was seen on a surveillance camera in the subway at around the time of the shootings and suicide bombings on Friday.

The official said Abaaoud was at the Croix de Chavaux metro station in the suburb of Montreuil at 10.14pm on November 13.

Teams of attackers started the violence at 9.20pm at the Stade de France north of Paris, then started firing on Paris cafes a few minutes later.

The metro station where Abaaoud was seen is not far from where police later found a Seat car believed to have been used by the attackers.French authorities said police had conducted 793 raids since last week's attacks.

On Thursday night alone, officers carried out 182 raids, detaining 17 people and seizing 76 weapons plus drugs.

After five nights of raids, the interior ministry said police had detained 90 people and seized 174 weapons, including 18 military-style firearms, 84 rifles and 68 handguns.

In addition, 164 people have been placed under house arrest with new powers permitted under France's state of emergency.

Police also seized €250,000.

PA Media

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