Three of the seven Islamist suicide bombers who perpetrated the terrorist massacre in Paris were French citizens, as was at least one of seven other people arrested in neighboring Belgium in connection to the deadly attacks that killed 129 and injured 352 on Friday night.
One suicide attacker, who was identified from a skin sample, had been living in a Paris suburb, French police said Sunday. A Belgian official said two of the seven suicide bombers were French men living in Brussels, and one of the attackers was living in the Molenbeek neighborhood, which is considered a focal point for religious extremism and fighters going to Syria. Among the seven people arrested was another French citizen living in the Belgian capital.
The new information highlighted growing fears of possible homegrown terrorism in France, a country that has exported more jihadis than any other in Europe.
Ismael Omar Mostefai, a 29-year-old French citizen who had been flagged for ties to Islamic radicalism, was identified Sunday as one of the assailants by a French judicial official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Mostefai’s ID comes as Balkan authorities work to track the travels of a man whose Syrian passport was found next to a dead suicide bomber at France’s national stadium on Friday night. It is still not clear if that Syrian passport is authentic, or if it belonged to the dead bomber. European officials say there is a brisk trade in fake Syrian passports to help people obtain refugee status in the European Union.
Serbian police said Sunday the owner of the passport, identified only as A.A., formally requested asylum in Serbia. Prosecutor Francois Molins told Sky News the passport was found at the Stade de France bombing site and belonged to a Syrian citizen born in 1990.
Officials said the passport holder entered Greece on Oct. 3 through Leros, one of the eastern Aegean islands that tens of thousand of people fleeing war and poverty have been using as a gateway into the 28-nation EU. Serbian police said the holder of the passport then registered at its border entry with Macedonia on Oct. 7. Croatian police said the passport holder was checked at a refugee center on Oct. 8, but the man was not flagged as suspicious and continued his journey toward Hungary and Austria, according to police spokeswoman Helena Biocic.
The FBI is sending to Paris a team of agents that specialize in recovering information from electronic devices, the New York Times reported on Sunday. The FBI is reportedly anticipating a bevy of information coming from French officials in the days ahead and wants to have sufficient manpower to handle and interpret it.
While investigators work to figure out how the attack was planned and if anyone connected with it is still at large, the so-called “City of Light” has gone dark as top Paris tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre art museum remain closed in the wake of the attacks perpetrated by Mostefai and seven other terrorists. The Islamist attackers wielded AK-47s and wore suicide belts while carrying out a series of coordinated attacks at six sites around Paris on Friday night.
Mostefai, identified by his fingerprints, was one of the terrorists inside the Bataclan concert hall, where at least 89 people were murdered during a concert by the American band Eagles of Death Metal, Sky News reported. He was known to the French Secret Service for his radicalism, Fox News has confirmed.
Little is known about Mostefai’s background, but French investigators have learned he grew up in a tough French housing project and turned to radicalism five years ago.
Read more: Fox News
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