First attacker in Paris killings identified

A forensic expert at the scene of Cafe La Belle Equipe, one of the places targetted by terrorists on Friday night.
A forensic expert at the scene of Cafe La Belle Equipe, one of the places targetted by terrorists on Friday night. AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON

French police identify a 29-year-old Frenchman as one of seven terrorists who killed at least 129 people and wounded more than 350 in Paris on Friday.


French police said three teams of gunmen wearing suicide vests carried out the actrocities in the capital’s worst ever attacks.

The Frenchman, Omar Ismaïl Mostefai, was identified after a finger was found at the Bataclan concert hall that matched fingerprints on police file. The man had criminal record and was on the security services' radar as having been radicalised, but was never implicated in a counter-terrorism investigation.

Police have taken his father and brother into custody and searched their homes.

The investigation spread beyond France on Saturday, as Belgian police arrested several suspects in Brussels, including one who was in Paris at the time of the carnage. Local media said three people were detained in connection with a vehicle found near the Bataclan.

The Paris Prosecutor, Francois Molins, also said a Syrian passport was found near the body of one attacker.

The Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility for the gun and suicide attacks that left a trail of destruction at the Bataclan and nearby restaurants and bars, and outside France's national stadium.

The seven known assailants were all killed. Six blew themselves up and one was shot dead by police before he could detonate his suicide vest.

President Francois Hollande called the coordinated assault an "act of war" that was prepared and planned overseas with help from inside France. He has declared a state of emergency.

All sports events in Paris were cancelled on Saturday, while access to public facilities such as museums and swimming pools was restricted.

More than 500 French fighters are thought to be with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, according to official figures, while 250 have returned and some 750 expressed a desire to go.

In January, 17 people were killed in Paris in attacks that targeted satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. Another disaster was narrowly averted in August when a gunman was overpowered on a packed high-speed train in northern France.

The worst of the bloodshed occurred at the Bataclan music venue in the trendy 11th arrondissement where more than 1,000 rock fans were at a sell-out show for the US rock band, Eagles of Death Metal.

Three gunmen wearing suicide vests and armed with automatic weapons stormed the venue and began spraying the crowd with bullets, killing at least 80 people.

Two of the militants blew up their explosive vests as elite anti-terror police raided the venues around 12:30 am while a third was shot dead.

Another attacker blew himself up in nearby Boulevard Voltaire, as the streets were filled with the sound of police sirens and convoys of ambulances shipping hundreds of injured to hospital.

Several restaurants near the concert hall were also targeted, including a popular Cambodian eatery.

Timeline of terror attacks in Paris:


9:20 pm: Simultaneous shootings and explosions take place across Paris.

- Three explosions take place near the Stade de France football stadium during a friendly between France and Germany. One person is killed, along with three suicide bombers.

- 15 people are killed after gunmen open fire on the terrace of the restaurant Le Petit Cambodge in the 10th arrondissement.

- On rue de Charonne, in the 11th arrondissement, 19 people are killed in gunfire.

- In the same arrondissement, near Place de la Republique, five people are killed on the terrace of a pizzeria, La Casa Nostra.

- Also in the 11th, at the Bataclan concert hall, where US group Eagles of Death Metal is performing, several armed men fire on the audience and take hostages.

- An attack in which one is killed also takes place on the other side of Place de la Republique. A suicide bomber is killed.


12:01 am: Hollande declares a state of emergency.

12:30 am: Police storm the Bataclan, ending their operation 30 minutes later. At least 89 people are killed. The three attackers are killed. Two die after activating their suicide vests and the third is shot dead.

- Hollande visits the Bataclan, where he vows to lead a "merciless" fight against terrorists.

- France deploys an additional 1,500 soldiers to Paris.

- The presidency says that border controls will be reinstated but the borders will remain open.

- Death toll is updated to at least 120.

04:30 am: According to investigators, seven attackers were killed, of whom six blew themselves up.

- Hollande and Obama in telephone talks agree to strengthen bilateral cooperation against terrorism.

- Schools, markets, museums and major tourist sites in the Paris area are closed and sporting fixtures cancelled.

10:50 am: Hollande calls the attacks an act of war committed by a terrorist army, the Islamic State, against France. He declares three days of national mourning.


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