Man whose flat was used by suspected Paris attacks leader in court

Jawad Bendaoud said he had no idea one was suspected planner of attacks

French security forces stormed a building in the early hours of Wednesday November 18th, in Saint Denis, Paris, where the suspected planner of the  Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was hiding. Photograph: Jerome Groisard/Ministere de l’Interieur – Dicom via AP

French security forces stormed a building in the early hours of Wednesday November 18th, in Saint Denis, Paris, where the suspected planner of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was hiding. Photograph: Jerome Groisard/Ministere de l’Interieur – Dicom via AP

 

The man who provided lodging for the presumed planner of the Paris attacks will go before an anti-terrorism judge on Tuesday evening as the hunt for suspected gang member Salah Abdeslam – Europe’s most wanted fugitive – reaches its 11th day.

French man Jawad Bendaoud said before he was detained by police last Wednesday that he had been asked to put up two people for three days in an apartment in St Denis north of Paris, but he had no idea one of them was the attackers’ ringleader.

It was in this flat that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected leader of the attacks claimed by Islamic State, died during a police raid along with Hasna Aitboulahcen, a woman believed to be his cousin, and an as yet unidentified third person.

Under French counter-terrorism laws, Bendaoud must be charged or released on Tuesday. The Paris Prosecutor is due to hold a news conference at 6.30pm (irish-time), though the prosecutor’s office has said Bendaoud will go before a judge.

The Paris attacks that killed 130 people on Friday, November 13th, at the national sports stadium, a concert venue and bars and restaurants in heart of the capital, shocked a city already struck by Islamist gunmen in January.

Since the killings, France has moved its flagship Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier into the eastern Mediterranean to step up its bombardments of Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.

President Francois Hollande is also trying to rally support this week for a more coordinated international campaign to destroy the militant group. He is due to meet President Barack Obama later on Tuesday and to visit Moscow on Thursday.

As millions of Americans prepare to travel for the US Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, the US State Department issued a global alert of “increased terrorist threats”.

The agency said on Monday current information suggested that Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other groups continued to plan attacks in multiple regions.

French investigators are still piecing together exactly who did what when and have launched a massive hunt to find Abdeslam, suspected of being the eighth attacker mentioned by Islamic State when it claimed responsibility for the killings.

Abdeslam, (26), fled to Belgium the day after the shootings and his presumed presence in Brussels was one of the factors behind a security lockdown that brought the city to a virtual standstill over the weekend.

Fearing an imminent Paris-style attack, Belgium has extended a maximum security alert in Brussels until next Monday but said the metro system and schools may open again on Wednesday.

Belgium has been at the heart of investigations into the attacks since France said two of the suicide bombers in Paris had lived there. Four people, including two who travelled with Abdeslam back to Brussels, have been charged with terrorist offences in Belgium.

– Reuters