The female suicide bomber who blew herself up Wednesday during a police raid that targeted suspected terrorists in Saint-Denis, France, was named as Hasna Aitboulahcen, a French-Moroccan national. She detonated her explosive vest as French police and soldiers closed in on a hideout in the northern Paris suburb. Aitboulahcen was the first-ever female suicide bomber in France and Western Europe, the Guardian reported.
Minutes before her death, Aitboulahcen was seen making a telephone call, possibly to alert accomplices who were still in the area. Aitboulahcen, 26, was the cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind behind Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris and the main target of Wednesday's operation, the Independent reported.
Aitboulahcen was described as having "long, blonde hair," by a witness, according to the MailOnline. She grew up in the Paris region and ran her own business, Beko Construction, until 2012. She had been on the radar of intelligence services, the Guardian reported.
The hourslong raid Wednesday focused on two apartments on the same street in Saint-Denis, with one leading to the other. More than 100 police and soldiers stormed the building and fired 5,000 munitions in a tense shootout. Two suspected terrorists were killed -- including Aitboulahcen -- and seven more were arrested. Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of last week's attacks, was among those killed, the Washington Post reported.
Police sources told CNN the raid was "right on time" because the suspected terrorists targeted in the raid were "about to move on some kind of operation." The suspects were planning to attack Paris' airport and the Les Quatre Temps shopping center in the capital city's La Défense neighborhood, police sources told French public broadcasting.
Pictures at the scene after the raid showed French police dragging a bloodied and half-naked man out of a residential block in Saint-Denis. At least five police were lightly wounded in the dramatic shootout -- some after the female suicide bomber detonated. A 7-year-old police dog named Diesel was also killed during the massive operation.