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Alleged Paris plotter returned to scene of attacks, planned another suicide bombing

Authorities say the alleged ringleader of the terror attacks in Paris was planning to carry out another attack the following week. Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed in a shootout with police days after the carnage.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud planned to blow himself up in a suicide attack on the French capital's La Defense business district, Paris public prosecutor Francois Molins said on Tuesday.

The Belgian national reportedly aimed to target the western Paris area with an accomplice on either November 18 or 19.

Abaaoud is believed to be the organizer of the series of suicide bombings and shootings on November 13 that killed 130 people and injured more than 350. He was killed in a police raid in Paris' northern district of Saint-Denis, five days after the attacks.

Molins said telephone analysis and other surveillance showed Abaaoud returned to the area around the Bataclan concert hall while the siege there was still underway. Gunmen took hostages at the venue before opening fire on the crowd, killing 90 people. That same night, he also reportedly returned to many of the other Paris neighborhoods where attacks had taken place.

Francois Molins

Francois Molins says Abaaoud revisited the scenes of the attacks

The analysis "leads us to believe that Abaaoud returned to the scene of the crimes after the attack carried out on the people sitting at tables at restaurants and while the BRI [French elite police] were intervening at the Bataclan," the prosecutor said.

'Taking part in a terrorist organization'

Seven attackers were killed on November 13, most of them after detonating suicide vests. On November 18, police swooped on an apartment in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis, where suspected ringleader Abaaoud and two others died in a seven-hour gunfight.

Jawad Bendaoud, the man who provided accommodation to the group, appeared before an investigating judge on Tuesday. Mollins told reporters that Bendaoud had been asked by Abaaoud's cousin to host the attackers and "could not have doubted that he was taking part in a terrorist organization."

The prosecutor said he wants him charged with participation in a terrorist enterprise.

Abdeslam Salah

Abdeslam Salah, the subject of an international manhunt

Eighth suspect still on the run

The eighth alleged attacker, 26-year-old Frenchman and Brussels resident Salah Abdeslam, is still being sought by French and Belgian police. On Tuesday, German police also launched an operation after receiving a tip-off that Abdeslam was in a town in northwestern Germany. Their search has yielded no results so far.

Police said a witness reported seeing the suspect near the town of Minden, about 75 kilometers (45 miles) west of Hanover, where a bomb threat on November 17 had led security forces to cancel a friendly soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands.

"According to our investigations so far, we can work on the presumption that the people we're checking have no connection to the Paris attacks," a local police spokesperson said on Tuesday evening.

Much of Europe has tightened security measures since the attacks in Paris. France is in a state of emergency as the search for suspects continues, while in Belgium, the country's highest-level terror alert remains in place for Brussels.

nm/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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