PARIS, Nov. 17 (UPI) — Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind behind theIslamic State Paris attacks, was reportedly targeted in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in October, a security official said.
Abaaoud, 27, is believed to be the link between senior IS leadership and the militant group’s operatives in Europe. He allegedly escaped from Belgium to Syria after a failed attack on the Belgian city of Verviers in January, The New York Timesreported, citing a European security official.
Airstrikes carried out by the U.S.-led coalition targeted Abaaoud in the IS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, though he escaped.
Abaaoud, who allegedly joined the terror group — also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL — in 2014, is believed to have close links to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
French officials believe Abaaoud was the one who planned a series of coordinated attacks on multiple sites in Paris on Friday. At least 129 people were killed and nearly 100 were critically injured.
The new details about Abaaoud were released Tuesday as related arrests were carried out in Germany.
Police arrested three people in the German town of Alsdorf, near Aachen and the country’s border with the Netherlands and Belgium. Authorities said those arrested — two women and a man — are foreign citizens, Germany’s The Local reported.
The suspects’ alleged roles in the Paris attacks were not clear.
Security authorities conducted 128 raids overnight Tuesday throughout France and about 115,000 police officers and service members were on patrol throughout France, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told France Info radio.
Officials believe at least 10 people, including seven suicide bombers, were directly involved in the Paris attacks.Two suspects were arrested in Belgium — Brussels native Hamza Attou, 21, and Mohamed Amri, 27, who was born in Morocco — and officials were hunting down Salah Abdeslam, 26, a French national born in Brussels suspected of being a gunman in the Paris attacks.