The sister of a woman who died in an anti-terrorism raid in Paris last week told NBC News on Monday that she believes her sibling was emotionally troubled and "manipulated" — not a hard-core terrorist.
Hasna Aitboulahcen, 26, the daughter of a Moroccan immigrant, was killed Wednesday during a raid by Paris law enforcement on a suburban apartment building. Police initially said Aitboulahcen detonated a suicide vest as police stormed the apartment in the suburb of Saint-Denis, but they later said she was killed by another suspect's explosion.
Hasna had described herself in the past as a cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris who was also killed in the raid. But her actual relationship to Abaaoud remains unclear.
Speaking to NBC News in French via text message on Monday, Hasna's 25-year-old sister, Myriam Aitboulachen, revealed that she had tried to "protect her from herself."
"She did not grow up in a stable home. She was not happy in her life," said Myriam, who noted that she had last spoken to her sister at the beginning of November.
"Most often it was she who contacted me when she went wrong," said Myriam. "She was sad in her life."
Friends described Hasna Aitboulahcen to NBC News last week as a party girl who drank and had tried drugs. A French official said she had spent some time in foster care.
Former neighbors in the Paris neighborhood of Aulnay-sous-Bois told Reuters she'd been mistreated as a child, renounced Islam, and was seen drinking, smoking and doing drugs.
But earlier this year, they said, she showed up in a hijab and veil, saying she'd become a jihadi. But the neighbors said they thought she was joking.
Myriam said the police have not told her about her sister's role in the Paris attacks that killed over 100 people.
"They gave me no information, what I know is that she was manipulated by her cousin (Abaaoud)," she said. "I don't consider him a member of my family."