FRANCE - BELGIUM

Saint-Denis suicide bomber identified through DNA in ongoing Paris attacks investigation

One of the bodies is taken out of the Saint-Denis flat after the police raid
One of the bodies is taken out of the Saint-Denis flat after the police raid AFP

A suicide bomber who blew himself up during a huge police raid following November's Paris attacks has been indentified as 25-year-old Belgian-Moroccan Chakib Akrouh. He was identified from DNA matched to his mother and suspected of being one of the gunmen in the massacre five days before his death. 

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"The suicide bomber who blew himself up ... was identified as Chakib Akrouh, born on 27 August 1990 in Belgium, of Belgian Moroccan nationality," Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said in a statement.

Akrouh had been holed up in an apartment in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, with the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abelhamid Abaaoud, who was also a Belgian of Moroccan origin.

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Akrouh died after he detonated his suicide vest on 18 November when police tried to storm the building.

A French woman, Hasna Aitboulahcen, who is thought to have been Abaaoud's cousin and may have been in a relationship with him, also died in the raid.

Prosecutors initially mistakenly believed she had been the suicide bomber, before correcting their account.

Investigators now believe Akrouh was also one of the 13 November gunmen.

A court in Belgium sentenced Akrouh to five years in jail in absentia last July in a case linked to a jihadist recruitment network sending fighters to Syria.

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Abaaoud was sentenced to 20 years in the same case, also in absentia.

Investigators are still seeking Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old Frenchman living in Belgium who is thought to have hired the cars used by the attackers and booked accomodation for them.

A new video emerged this week, showing Abdeslam at a motorway service station near the border of France and Belgium hours after the attacks.

The two accomplices with him were arrested and have admitted taking him back to Brussels.

According to Belgian media on Thursday, Abdeslam had contacted his lawyer, Sven Mary, who has so far refused to comment on the rumour.

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