The identified ISIS (also known as ISIL, Islamic State and ISIL) ringleader of the group of shooters and suicide bombers which killed over 130 people in attacks across Paris last month has connections with people in Britain.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in a police raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis just a few days after the initial attack, had several connections in Britain — mostly in Birmingham which has become known for its ties with Islamist extremism over the last decade.
The WSJ said two “Western officials” told the papers that those people in Birmingham include some of Moroccan heritage.
Meanwhile, the Guardian newspaper also released a report that supports the idea that the ISIS group that attacked Paris last month had links to Britain. The Guardian claimed that one of the men involved in the Paris attacks visited Britain earlier this year.
The Guardian said that the un-named man met people in London and Birmingham “suspected of having the intention and capability of plotting or assisting terrorist activity against the UK.” This meant the man entered Britain despite the terrorism threat level being at “severe.”
Britain’s Home Office declined to comment on the Guardian and WSJ reports.
The November 13 attacks on Paris left 130 people dead and injured at least 300 more. French President Francois Hollande implemented of a state of emergency in France almost immediately that night, and French authorities have been conducting a manhunt to find all of those suspected of having a role in the attacks.
One of the suspected attackers, Salah Abdeslam, remains on the run. CNN reported in November that Western officials believe he may have escaped to Syria, but his ultimate whereabouts remain unclear. Abdeslam is believed to have been driven by Mohamed Abrini to Paris and police are also looking for this man.
Meanwhile, Belgian officials in December have stepped up the number of people it is looking for in connection to the Paris attacks. They are now looking for four suspects, up from two. The federal prosecutors office said the two new suspects used fake Belgian identification documents with the names Samir Bouzid and Soufiane Kayal.
Meanwhile, ISIS is allegedly aiming to “attack the UK next.” An unnamed official, speaking to CNN, claimed following the Paris attacks counter-terrorism authorities believe terrorists will attempt to hit Britain.
CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank said: “The intelligence suggests that British ISIS operatives in Syria and Iraq are being tasked to return to the UK to launch an attack against the United Kingdom.
“They are treating this very, very seriously indeed.” He added that “it is not clear how imminent this threat is.”
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