Abdelhamid Abaaoud is reportedly dead after a Nov. 18 raid on a terrorist hideout in the Saint-Denis suburb of Paris. But who is the man French authorities believe orchestrated the deadly Paris attacks? Here are 5 things to know about Abdelhamid.
The French authorities have reportedly killed Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the 27-year-old man suspected of masterminding the terrorist attacks in Paris. As the police piece together the remains of the raid that allegedly killed Abdelhamid, learn more about the man thought to be behind the murder of over 100 innocent victims.
1. Abdelhamid was born in Belgium.
Abdelhamid was born in Belgium, according to the Washington Times, to immigrant parents from Morocco. His father, Omar Abaaoud, moved to Belgium in 1975. He had six children — one of them being Abdelhamid. Though French authorities have yet to confirm his death in the Nov. 18 raid on a terrorist hideout, two senior European intelligence officials told the Washington Post that he’s now dead.
2. He grew up in a privileged life and attended an upscale school.
Omar owned a clothing store, which afforded Abdelhamid a comfortable lifestyle, according to the New York Times. He attended an exclusive Catholic school, College Saint-Pierre d’Ucccle, located in a rich part of Brussels. He was given a place in the secondary school, but lasted only one year – reports claim he either flunked out or was dismissed for poor behavior.
3. Before he was a terrorist, Abdelhamid was a thief.
He was arrested in 2010 for petty crime, after he reportedly developed a habit of stealing things. After Abdelhamid served time in prison, he hung out at a dive bar full of drug dealers. He moved on to stealing to being reportedly the man who planned the attacks on Paris on Nov. 13 that left 129 people dead, including those killed in a hostage situation at the Bataclan music hall.
4. Abdelhamid reportedly joined ISIS in 2014 but quickly rose up the ranks.
In 2014, Abdelhamid suddenly moved to Syria. He was first seen in a video where he dragged corpses with a pick-up truck, reports the New York Times. But, he was soon involved in many terrorists operations. He reportedly knew Mehdi Nemmouche, who admitted to killing four people during a May 2014 attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels, Belgium, reports CNN. He also supposedly contacted Sid Agmed Ghlam, who planned an attack on a church in Villejuif, France. He was even linked to Ayoub El Khazzani, the terrorist who attempted an attack on a French train in August.
5. His own family prayed for his death.
When there were rumors that Abdelhamid was killed while fighting in Syria, his family didn’t mourn. Instead, they rejoiced. “We are praying that Abdelhamid really is dead,” his sister, Yasmina, said, according to the New York Times. “He destroyed our family,” he father told reporters. “I don’t ever want to see him again.”
Our thoughts and support continue to go out to all those who were affected by these horrific terrorist attacks.
— Jason Brow