Paris – French officials announced on Wednesday, December 9th, they have identified the third gunman who detonated a suicide vest at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris last month, when Islamic State extremists killed 130 people in six locations across the French capital city and marked the most deadly attack on the territory since World War II.
It has taken a long time to identify the bodies of the attackers, since they blew themselves up after shooting to death members of the crowd at a concert of the California band Eagles of Death Metal.
The assailant was identified as Foued Mohamed-Aggad, a 23-year-old French national who had been radicalized in Syria since he visited the country two years ago. According to Reuters, about ten days ago his mother received a text message from ISIS militants confirming her son had died “as a martyr” on November 13th “with his brothers,” as reported by Francoise Cotta, the lawyer for the mother and her family.
After she gave French police a DNA sample, they found that one of her sons had died in the concert venue. Cotta declared Mohamed-Aggad had told his family months ago that he would go to Iraq to detonate a suicide bomb and that he would never go back to France, the lawyer told BFM television.
“What kind of human being could do what he did?” expressed his father, Said, as The Parisien newspaper reported. “If I had known he would do something like this, I would have killed him.”
Previous investigations have shown that terrorists are trained to flawlessly hide their intentions, even from their families. Reuters reported that Karim, Mohamed-Aggad’s older brother who also visited Syria, is under arrest in France, as well as Mourad Fares, the Frenchman who is thought to have recruited them for ISIS. They face trial for terror-related offenses. Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Sala Abdeslam, a French-born in Brussels involved in Nov. 13 attacks, is still at large in spite of a massive international dragnet to capture him.
All the Paris attackers that have been identified so far are French or Belgian who joined ISIS terror group. A French judicial official said Mohamed-Aggad left Strasbourg for Syrian war zone in late 2013 along with nearly a dozen young men from the same eastern French city. Some of them told investigators they had returned to France – where they were arrested in spring last year – because they rejected the terrible things they had experienced there. Mohamed-Aggad chose to stay in Syria, but it remains unclear when and how he went back to France.
Another terrorist at Bataclan has been identified as Samy Amimour, 28, from Drancy, a commune in the northeastern suburbs of Paris. The second attacker has been named Ismail Omar Mostefai, a 29-year-old Frenchman from Algerian parents who lived in Charters, located 96 km (60 mi) southwest of the French capital. Mostefai was killed in a police raid a week after the attacks.
The worst massacre occurred at the Bataclan concert hall, as attackers carrying automatic weapons killed 90 people, nearly three-quarters of the total victims. While all Eagles of Death Metal musicians managed to escape unharmed, the band’s merchandise manager Nick Alexander was killed along with three executives from Universal Music Group. The California artists were on a 32-city European tour promoting their fourth album’s release, “Zipper Down,” but could only perform 11 of those dates before the Paris attacks, after which they canceled the tour and went back to the United States.
This Monday, Dec. 7, the rock band made a surprise return to Paris and performed with U2. They laid flowers at the site for the 90 victims while fighting back tears. U2 had four scheduled concerts before French President Francois Hollande announced a state of emergency following the deadly attacks, but two of them had to be postponed and reprogramed for this week.