Paris: The alleged mastermind of one of the worst terrorist attacks in Paris, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed in a pre-dawn raid, the prosecutor's office confirmed on Thursday.
Various media reports quoted a statement released by the Paris prosecutor Francois Molins' office as saying that Abaaoud's body was found in the Saint-Denis building riddled with bullets and he had been identified based on skin samples.
The anti-terror raids had taken place in Paris suburb of Saint-Denis in which, apart from the mastermind, a female suicide bomber had blown herself up.
After the Paris attacks, which killed at least 129 people, Abaaoud was thought to have been in Syria.
Finally, Abaaoud was eliminated in Saint-Denis after a violent exchange of gunfire between security personnel and terrorists.
French police have also confirmed that the woman who blew herself up was the cousin of Abaaoud, as per reports. Her name is believed to be Hasna Aitboulahcen.
Authorities had zeroed in on the building after picking up phone conversations that a relative of Abaaoud may be there.
Also, eight people had also been arrested and five police officers had suffered minor injuries in the operation which had lasted for almost seven hours.
As per reports, police had fired around 5,000 rounds of ammunition in yesterday's morning operation.
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After the standoff, Molins had said that Abaaoud was not among the eight people detained.
Molins had added that a probe into the attacks allowed police "to obtain telephonic surveillance and witness testimony which led us to believe that Abaaoud was likely to be in an apartment in Saint-Denis", as per AFP.
He had also stated yesterday that it was too early to say if Abaaoud was among those arrested or killed.
Molins had further said that Salah Abdeslam, a French citizen suspected of involvement in Friday's coordinated wave of terrorist violence perpetuated by the ISIS, was not among those detained.
Abaaoud, 27, had a Belgian passport and was of Moroccan origin. Tthere had been a massive manhunt by France after the multiple attacks in Paris.
The ISIS terrorist was said to be head of a terrorist cell in Verviers which was apparently dismantled by Belgian police in January 2014.
Abaaoud was sentenced to 20 years in abstentia along with 32 other jihadists and has featured in ISIS propaganda videos and magazines.
According to reports, police believe that he helped plan a terrorist attack on an Amsterdam to Paris train in August 2015.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned today of the danger of an attack in France using "chemical or biological weapons", in a speech to lawmakers debating the extension of a state of emergency.
On the other hand, France has stepped up its airstrikes against extremists in Syria.
Next week, French President Francois Hollande is going to Washington and Moscow to push for a stronger international coalition against ISIS.
(With Agency inputs)