The French authorities have not confirmed if he is dead or alive but two European intelligence officials told the Washington Post newspaper his remains had been positively identified.
Until yesterday’s huge security operation, Abaaoud had been thought to have directed Friday’s bloodbath in Paris, in which 129 people died, from Syria.
Senior intelligence officials said Abdelhamid Abaaoud (pictured), the 27-year-old Islamic State
ringleader behind the Paris massacre, was killed by French police commandos when a flat was
raided in the early hours of yesterday
But in an extraordinary twist, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins last night confirmed intelligence from mobile phone calls had placed the Belgian jihadi in the French capital. That telephone data, said Mr Molins, led police to the apartment just 20 minutes outside Paris at 4.20am yesterday. There officers discovered a ‘total war arsenal’ including Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosive belts.
The raid took place just a mile from the Stade de France where three suicide bombers caused havoc during the France-Germany football match at the start of the attacks across the city.
Special forces police and soldiers fired a staggering 5,000 rounds, with two suspects killed during the battle. As well as the woman, a man believed to be Abaaoud died from gunfire and the detonation of a grenade. Mr Molins said Abaaoud was not among the eight arrests and refused to confirm the identities of the two dead until forensic tests were complete.
He confirmed that a mobile phone found in a bin outside the Bataclan theatre belonging to one of the killers contained a text which read: ‘We have left, we’re starting.’ Security chiefs feared Aitboulahcen had been leading a ‘fourth cell’ on the brink of launching an attack on Charles de Gaulle airport or a shopping centre in the La Defense business district. She was a prime terrorist suspect who had also been under ‘triple surveillance’ from French intelligence for drug running.
The police assault in Saint-Denis was in two adjacent flats. The assault was ‘extremely difficult’ and the armoured door to the flat did not come down straight away, giving the terrorists time to shoot back.
The woman, who was said to have blonde hair, detonated her belt as officers closed in. The source added that Aitboulahcen had previously expressed an interest in joining IS and wanted to serve in either Iraq or Syria.
A sound recording obtained by French TV reveals police shouted out: ‘Where is your boyfriend?’ to which she replied: ‘He is not my boyfriend.’ Aitboulahcen was the director of a building firm called Beko Construction, set up in 2011 at Epinay-sur-Seine. The firm went into liquidation in 2014.
The jihadis used Kalashnikovs and five officers were left with minor injuries and a police dog was killed.
At dawn, there was panic as officers ran through the streets shouting for locals to ‘get down’ amid fears that another member of the gang remained on the loose.
Dramatic footage of the siege showed officers ordering a suspect to get down on his knees in a courtyard outside the tower block. A separate video shows police surround another suspect dressed in jeans and blue trainers who is understood to have been injured.
A picture emerged showing one of the bloody suspects, naked from the waist down – being dragged away. Photographs also surfaced of a bloodied mattress from inside the apartment.
Residents in Saint-Denis, known for its crime and drugs links, told how they saw flames and heard explosions as well as hundreds of gunshots as the raid unfolded.