Today, the French prosecutor’s office confirmed that Abdelhamid Abaaoud is the man killed in the raid on St-Denis yesterday. The death was first reported yesterday by The Washington Post and now it has been confirmed by top French authorities.
His body has been formally identified at the Rue de Corbillon in the Paris suburb, using skin samples, the prosecutor said.
Abaaoud was initially believed to be in Syria but it became increasingly clear to French investigators that he had managed to return to Europe.
He left his home country of Belgium in 2014 to fight with Islamic State but he was known to have been able to return to Europe at least once since. French prosecutor Francois Molins said the operation began at 4.20am after phone taps and surveillance following a tipoff on Monday led police to believe he was still in the Paris area.
Identification took longer than expected because the entire third floor of the building at 8, rue du Corbillon collapsed during the raid on Wednesday, Georges Salinas, deputy commander of the elite BRI police unit, told French radio.