First suspect identified in France attacks: Parisian accused only of petty theft before becoming a suicide bomber

Published November 15th, 2015 - 11:14 GMT

The first Jihadi suicide bomber named in connection with the Paris terrorist attacks that left at least 129 people dead is Omar Ismail Mostefai, who was identified by his finger.

The digit was found among the carnage of the Bataclan concert hall, where the 29-year-old was one of three men who blew himself up, killing 89 men, women and children.

Born on 21 November 1985, in the Paris suburb of Courcouronnes, Mostefai’s criminal record shows eight convictions for petty crimes between 2004 and 2010.

Although he had never spent any time in jail, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Mostefai had been picked out as a high-priority target for radicalisation in 2010.

But before Friday, Mostefai had ‘never been implicated in an investigation or a terrorist association'.

Investigators are now investigating claims that he went to Syria last year, and may have spent time with IS terrorists.

Mostefai's father and 34-year-old brother were arrested on Saturday night and their homes were searched.

'It’s a crazy thing, it’s madness,' his brother told French news agency AFP before he was taken into custody.'Yesterday I was in Paris and I saw how this s*** went down.'

The brother, one of four boys in the family along with two sisters, turned himself in to police after learning Mostefai was involved in the attacks.

While he had cut ties with Mostefai several years ago, and knew he had been involved in petty crimes, his brother said he had never imagined his brother could be radicalised.

The last he knew, Mostefai had gone to Algeria with his family and his “little girl”, the brother said, adding: 'It’s been a time since I have had any news.I called my mother, she didn’t seem to know anything.’ 

A source close to the inquiry said Mostefai regularly attended the mosque in Luce, close to Chartres, to the southwest of Paris. 

Police have also detained members of his family for questioning. Mostefai's father, a brother and other family members have been held and are being questioned. 

Two of the suicide bombers who caused carnage in the Paris massacre are thought to have sneaked into France by posing as refugees from Syria, it was revealed Saturday.  

Police said the two men, who arrived in Greece last month, were among seven attackers, one as young as 15. 

Serbian media last night reported that one of the terrorists was named as Ahmed Almuhamed. The newspaper said that 25-year-old Almuhamed arrived in Europe on the Greek island of Leros on October 3 on his way to Paris. 

Belgian authorities also arrested several suspects on Saturday after a car seen near one of the murder scenes was intercepted crossing the border.

Federal prosecutors in Brussels confirmed that a car with Belgian number plates had been seen close to the Bataclan theatre on Friday night, scene of the worst bloodshed. 

Spokesman Jean-Pascal Thoreau confirmed that the car was a rental vehicle. He said that three people were arrested in the car.  

Following the arrests, police launched several raids in the St Jans Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels, where several other arrests were made. 

Molenbeek is home to a large community of immigrants from Morocco and Turkey. 

A Belgian anti-terrorism judge took up the case because two of the people killed in Paris were Belgians, the office said in a statement.

A spokesman said: 'The investigation is opened into a charge of terrorism and participation in the activities of a terrorist group.

'Several arrests were carried out at the end of the afternoon. The operations are still underway in the Molenbeek neighbourhood.' 

It has emerged that one of the terrorists arrived on the Greek Island of Leros on October 3, in a small boat among a group of 69 refugees who arrived from Turkey.

Investigators believe that the man travelled through Greece, into Macedonia before making his way northwards. 

According to Greece's deputy minister in charge of police Nikos Toskas: 'The holder of the passport passed through the island of Leros on October 3, 2015, where he was identified according to EU rules.'

A Greek police source said the passport's owner was a young man who had arrived in Leros on a small vessel from Turkey with a group of 69 refugees and had his fingerprints taken by Greek officials. 

Two further suspects wanted by French authorities are believed to have registered as refugees in Greece earlier this year 

French authorities had asked their Greek counterparts to check a passport and fingerprints of one man and the fingerprints of another who were thought to have registered in Greece, which is the main entry point into Europe for Syrian refugees.

At least one Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the seven assailants who died in Friday night's violence.

Interpol has confirmed it has set up a 'crisis response task force' at its headquarters in southeastern France following deadly attacks in Paris.

Interpol Secretary-General Juergen Stock condemned the 'cold-blooded, cowardly attacks' that left at least 129 people dead Friday night.

By Peter Allen

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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