THE LEVANT NEWS — Prior to the terrorist attacks in Paris, France and its allies had tried to target the prominent ISIS member who is believed to have planned the wave of deadly assaults, a French source close to the investigation said.
Western intelligence agencies had attempted to track Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian citizen thought to be in Syria, but they weren’t able to locate him, the source told CNN on Tuesday.
Abaaoud had been implicated in the planning of a number of terrorist attacks and conspiracies in Western Europe before last Friday’s rampage in Paris by ISIS attackers armed with assault rifles and suicide vests who killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more.
Believed to be close to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Abaaoud was linked to a plan to attack Belgian police that was thwarted in January. He has since been featured in ISIS’ online English-language magazine. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Investigators have also been unable to find Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French citizen suspected of involvement in the Paris attacks who slipped through authorities’ grasp over the weekend.