Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris left the world reeling as police seek those responsible for the bloodshed. By the end of the evening, at least 120 people died while 200 more were injured (some seriously). ISIS was quick to claim responsibility for the coordinated attacks on seven locations, and France wasted little time in launching Sunday airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria. We also heard how a rental car used in conjunction with the concert hall attack led to the arrest of three men by Belgian police.
French authorities have identified Abdelhamid Abaaoud as the Belgian mastermind behind the Paris attacks. According to The Guardian, police say this man was “instrumental” in the organization and orchestration of the mayhem. The New York Times adds that he is a Belgian national of Moroccan origin who fought for ISIS in Syria and communicated heavily with other suspected jihadists:
A French official briefed on the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss operational details, said that Mr. Abaaoud, who had been wanted in Belgium for a terrorist plot that was foiled in January, had mentioned plans to attack “a concert hall” to a French citizen who had come back from Syria. Mr. Abaaoud, this official said, was also in contact with Ismael Omar Mostefai, one of the Paris attackers.
President François Hollande of France said the attacks had been “planned in Syria, organized in Belgium and perpetrated on our soil with French complicity.” He said: “France is at war.” He described Syria as “The biggest factory of terrorists the world has ever known.”