PARIS [PeterPaul.ca] — A Paris attacks fugitive may be using a disguise and alias as he continues to evade an international manhunt linked to his involvement in the atrocity exactly one week ago. The death toll has increased since then to 130 people after the death of a critically injured survivor on Friday.
He was originally identified as Salah Abdeslam, 26, and has become the most wanted man in Europe after the attacks mastermind was confirmed dead. News reports said that he had contacted his friends after the attacks and expressed his regret, saying ISIS had “gone too far”. Authorities said he could be using the alias “Yassine Baghli” and is believed to be hiding in Brussels.
The dizzying investigation into the worst acts of terrorism in French history has as many facts as it does contradictions with another emerging a week later saying that a female militant was killed not by her own suicide vest, but by another explosion altogether.
Originally, 26-year-old Hasna Ait Boulahcen was trumpeted as Europe’s first suicide bomber on Thursday but investigators have since discredited that theory. Police confirmed that she died after another member of her terror cell detonated their explosives nearby as police units closed in. It created a blast so powerful that her head was found on the street outside.
News reports quoting people who knew her said she was a “party girl” who went out drinking almost every night but suddenly changed to Islamic dress about six months ago. She died after an intense, seven-hour gun battle alongside her cousin, the mastermind, where over 5,000 police rounds were fired.
He was found with a bullet-ridden body, marking an end to an intense manhunt just days after he was identified as the ring leader. Another member of the ISIS cell remains unidentified, according to Paris’ public prosecutor.
Police were led to the mastermind just north of Paris because of a tapped phone which belonged to Hasna–who investigators had already linked to the mastermind–a well-known Islamic State operative.
The night before the raid, surveillance officers observed Hasna and the mastermind going into a Saint-Denis flat where they would end up meeting their demise in a hail of bullets and explosions 24 hours later–the same, deadly fate suffered by their victims just days earlier.