The alleged mastermind behind the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 132 people bragged about escaping “crusader intelligence” and mocked efforts to capture him during an extensive interview in ISIS’s English-language magazine, Dabiq.
UPDATE Fate of Paris attack mastermind unclear after raid, but intel sources reportedly say he’s dead.
Vocativ In the interview, published in February, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 27-year-old Belgian extremist, also detailed his attempted attack in the Belgian town of Verviers that resulted in the deaths of two militants in January.
Abaaoud said he escaped to Syria after the attempted attack despite being chased by intelligence agencies. “All this proves that a Muslim should not fear the bloated image of the crusader intelligence,” he said. “My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them, and leave safely when doing so became necessary.”
Abaaoud, who used the nickname Abu Umar al-Baljiki, claimed he was nearly halted by authorities. “I was even stopped by an officer who contemplated me so as to compare me to the picture, but he let me go, as he did not see the resemblance!” he said. “This was nothing but a gift from Allah.”
The Belgian extremist fought alongside ISIS in Syria. He also was allegedly involved in foiled attacks on a Paris-bound high-speed train and Paris area church. Originally from Molenbeek, Brussels, he is believed to be in Syria now.