Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the reported mastermind of the Paris terror attack is dead, according to French authorities.
Just after 4:20a.m., police RAID and BRI special forces converged on a hideout the terrorists were using as a safe house. An explosive charge failed to immediately open the armored door, giving those inside time to regroup and mount a fierce resistance.
More than 5,000 rounds of ammunition were expended in a pitched gun battle that raged for more than an hour. The French army was brought in to help secure an outer perimeter.
“There were lights and laser beams coming toward us,” a woman who lives in the apartment below told French radio. “There were explosions, and you could feel the building shaking.”
Uthayaseelan Sanmugan, a 38-year-old cook who lives nearby, said he awoke to gunfire at 4:30 in the morning and saw weapons lights outside: “When I got to the street, I saw a lot of blood on the sidewalk. The blood of the terrorists.”
Once the shooting stopped, a man giving an interview to French news said that he had given the keys to the apartment to it’s occupants.
“I didn’t know they were terrorists,” he said on TV. “I was asked to put up two people for three days, I did a favor.” He and a woman accompanying him were taken into custody by police almost immediately.
Abaaoud was identified using fingerprints taken from his bullet riddled corpse at the scene of the raid. One other person was killed and 8 people were detained following the raid.
“We are at war against terrorism, terrorism which declared war on us,” French President Francois Hollande said. “It is the [Islamic State] jihadist organization. It has an army. It has financial resources. It has oil. It has a territory.”
“It has allies in Europe, including in our country,” he continued, “with young, radicalized Islamist people. It committed atrocities there and wants to kill here. It has killed here.”
Abaaoud has also been linked to an attempted terror attack aboard a Thalys train in August of this year. In that attack, gunman Ayoub El-Khazzani was famously tackled to the ground and stopped by passengers, including Spencer Stone, an airman in the United States Air Force.