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Who were the Paris attackers? Many crossed officials' radar

Associated Press logoAssociated Press 11/16/2015

PARIS — French police, prosecutors and journalists have unveiled details about the men accused of carrying out rapid-fire attacks across Paris on Friday. Altogether, authorities say that three teams of attackers participated in the bloody assault, though the precise strength of each team hasn't been made clear. Seven men were killed in the attacks, and at least one suspected participant remains at large.

The suspected mastermind was already notorious and many of his alleged foot soldiers had crossed authorities' radars. Here are their profiles:

SUSPECTED MASTERMIND

— ABDELHAMID ABAAOUD

Abaaoud, a Belgian in his late 20s, was already well known to those who follow the Islamic State group. In 2014, grim footage emerged of him and his friends in Syria loading a pickup and a makeshift trailer with a mound of bloodied corpses.

Abaaoud, the child of Moroccan immigrants who grew up in the Belgian capital’s Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighborhood, was identified by French authorities on Monday Nov. 16, 2015, as the presumed mastermind of the terror attacks last Friday in Paris that killed over a hundred people and injured hundreds more. (Militant Photo via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Abaaoud, the child of Moroccan immigrants who grew up in the Belgian capital’s Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighborhood, was identified by French authorities on Monday Nov. 16, 2015, as the presumed mastermind of the terror attacks last Friday in Paris that killed over a hundred people and injured hundreds more. (Militant Photo via AP) Before driving off, a grinning Abaaoud tells the camera: "Before we towed jet skis, motorcycles, quad bikes, big trailers filled with gifts for vacation in Morocco. Now, thank God, following God's path, we're towing apostates."

His current whereabouts are unknown. The Islamic State group's magazine, Dabiq, said he had escaped to Syria earlier this year.

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BATACLAN KILLERS

Three suicide bombers have been identified as those who targeted concert-goers at Paris' famous Bataclan music venue:

— ISMAEL OMAR MOSTEFAI, 29

Police say Mostefai blew himself up at the theater Friday night.

Tall, quiet and conservatively dressed, Mostefai appears to have aroused little suspicion at the housing block he shared with his family in the French cathedral city of Chartres or at the nearby, modern-looking Anoussra Mosque.

Arnauld Froissart, a 34-year-old bank employee who lives in the area, said he saw Mostefai and his family many times when they lived there until about two years ago. Froissart said Mostefai was "very discreet" and his family was "very nice."

Two French police officials say they believe Mostefai traveled to Syria in the past few years, although it's not clear what he did there. One of the officials said there was a recent attempt to put him under increased surveillance. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly.

At the nearby Anoussra Mosque, newly-elected Islamic association leader Ben Bammou confirmed that Mostefai was a regular mosque-goer until about two years ago. He said Mostefai often attending with his father, but said there was no sign of fanaticism.

"He was a reserved young man who played soccer with his colleagues; he was a baker who was coming to pray daily."

— SAMY AMIMOUR, 28

Amimour's father made a desperate and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to extract his son from the Islamic State group, Le Monde newspaper reported Monday.

Amimour, who lived at home and had a short career as a bus driver, had already run into trouble with the law. French officials quizzed him on Oct. 19, 2012 over links to a network of terror sympathizers and an abortive trip to Yemen, prosecutors said in a statement.

He was subject to unspecified restrictions, prosecutors said. But a December 2014 story in Le Monde suggests that Amimour was able to get around them, eventually joining up with the Islamic State group in Syria.

Amimour's father, who Le Monde did not name, traveled to Islamic State-held territory in June 2014 in an effort to convince his son to leave Syria.

The sixty-something-year-old told the paper he braved machine gun-wielding militants, a minefield and food poisoning. But the reunion was a cold one, the father said, saying his son appeared disinterested and walked with crutches.

"He was with another guy, who never left us alone," the father said. "He didn't invite me home. He didn't tell me how he was wounded, or if he was fighting."

Discouraged by his son's indifference and horrified by his son's friends, who showed him horrific videos of human butchery, he left for Turkey two or three days later.

Contact details for Amimour's relatives could not immediately be located. The prosecutor's statement said three members of his family have since been arrested. It did not say whether one of the three included his father.

— A third theater attacker remains unidentified.

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STADIUM KILLERS

Three suicide bombers were said to have attacked the Stade de France:

— AHMAD AL-MOHAMMAD, 25

That's the name written on a Syrian passport found near one of the Parisian suicide bombers. The document describes Al-Mohammad as a 25-year-old from the rebel-held Syrian city Idlib. French officials said in a statement released Monday that the bomber's fingerprints match a set taken in Greece in October 2015.

A Greek official says the person holding Al-Mohammad's passport was processed on the island of Leros after setting out from Turkey, staying there for five days before arriving by ship in Athens. From then on, authorities didn't track him.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether the passport belongs to the attacker and whether the passport is authentic.

— BILAL HADFI, 29 or 30

A police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly identified Hadfi as one of the three stadium bombers. Further details weren't immediately available.

— The third stadium bomber remains unidentified.

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CAFE ATTACKER

One attacker has been identified in the attack on the cafe Comptoir Voltaire:

— BRAHIM ABDESLAM, 30 or 31

A police official says Abdeslam blew himself up outside the cafe on Friday night.

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OTHER LOCATIONS

Other locations in the city were hit, but it is not yet completely clear which assailants struck where and in what number.

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ON THE LOOSE

- SALAH ABDESLAM, 26

Abdeslam, a young Brussels-born man with cropped hair and a hint of stubble, is the brother of Brahim. He is described by French police as highly dangerous in an alert distributed online Sunday.

Hours after he was linked to the attacks - his alleged role is not yet clear - Abdeslam and two unknown travelers were stopped in their car near the Belgian border. Four French officials acknowledged that police had Abdeslam in their grasp, but officials let him go after checking his ID. They spoke on condition of anonymity, lacking authorization to publicly disclose such details.

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Philippe Sotto and Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.

13, 2015. French police released the wanted notice and photo of the suspect on the run since the attacks in Paris on Friday. The notice, released on the France National Police Twitter account, says anyone seeing Salah Abdeslam, should consider him dangerous. (Police Nationale via AP) © Provided by Associated Press 13, 2015. French police released the wanted notice and photo of the suspect on the run since the attacks in Paris on Friday. The notice, released on the France National Police Twitter account, says anyone seeing Salah Abdeslam, should consider him dangerous. (Police Nationale via AP)
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