Paris public prosecutor Francois Molins detailed results Wednesday from the ongoing investigations into the Friday night terror attacks that killed 129 people and injured hundreds more. Those details painted the picture of a planned out assault in which gunmen and bombers communicated with one another across the city and wielded a huge amount of ammunition to spill blood. Molins also said that raids Wednesday morning in Paris’s Saint-Denis neighborhood stopped another attack that was being planned.
Here’s what he confirmed: The three rental cars the terrorists used all came from Belgium. A cell phone discovered outside of the Bataclan music hall where 89 people were gunned down contained a text that was sent at 9:42 p.m. local time that said “we are going to start now.” There were 5,000 rounds recovered from the attack sites. And, the Wednesday morning raids were conducted in order to kill or capture the suspected mastermind behind the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was previously thought to be living in Syria. Whether or not he is dead wasn’t immediately clear. The Washington Post said sources said he was killed.
The raids Wednesday morning resulted in the death of two potential terrorist suspects and seven arrests. They began just after 4 a.m. local time. They were a part of a larger effort by French security forces in the days since the attack that have included as many as 414 raids across the country. There have been 60 people arrested or detained and 75 weapons seized, according to the New York Times. Those firearms included 11 heavy weapons, 33 rifles and 31 handguns, a statement citied by the Times indicated.
The Saint-Denis raids took place in a neighborhood that has been described as fragmented and poor. The community is largely North African and home to half a million Muslims. The residents are often discriminated against where employment is concerned and also the frequent targets of police discrimination. Those conditions have led to a disenfranchised youth population.