Officials have confirmed Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of last Friday’s attacks was killed in the dawn raids in St. Denis on Wednesday.
“His body was discovered in the building, riddled with bullets,” a statement from the Paris prosecutor said. The news was greeted by applause in France’s national assembly.
Commentators believe it represents a breakthrough as the Belgian militant was regarded as an individual of great importance in the so-called Islamic State.
The shoot out in the northern suburb of the French capital centred on the building where Abaaoud was holed up. Reports have suggested the female suicide bomber who blew herself up was his cousin.
Two people are known to have died while eight people were arrested. Abaaoud was identified by his finger prints. It’s thought he organised various other attacks including the foiled armed assault on a train in France in August.
Analysts say the confirmation of his death will focus more attention on the European security services who, ahead of Friday’s attacks thought he was still in Syria.
“This is a major failing,” said Roland Jaquard of the International Observatory for Terrorism.