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The suspected ringleader of the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris took part in the assaults on a cafe and restaurant and visited the crime scenes later that night — even as police special forces stormed a concert venue where 89 people were slaughtered, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said Tuesday.
After the attacks unfolded, Abdelhamid Abaaoud traveled around central Paris, Molins said, citing cell phone tracking data.
The data show that Abaaoud stopped near the locations where he and other gunmen and suicide bombers launched simultaneous assaults, killing 130 and injuring hundreds more, Molins said. That included the Bataclan, where gunmen and bombers attacked a sold-out concert by the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal.
Abaaoud also apparently spoke by cell phone with Bilal Hadfi before he blew himself up outside Stade de France along with two other suicide bombers, Molins said.
At some point in the night, Abaaoud was likely riding in a black car that was abandoned that night in the suburb of Montreuil east of Paris, Molins said. Investigators found his DNA on an assault rifle and other objects in the car.
Later, Abaaoud was picked up by security cameras in the city subway's Croix Chavaux station in Montreuil with an unidentified man, Molins said. Investigators believe the second man was one of the unnamed gunmen who attacked cafes and restaurants that night.
Also on Tuesday, Belgian authorities issued an alert for a man they said helped a suspect get to Paris from Belgium. Two days before the attacks, Mohamed Abrini, 30, was caught on security footage at a gas station with Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect and a brother of one of the dead attackers. Abrini was driving a Renault Clio later used by the attackers, prosecutors said. Both men are now subjects of international manhunts.
Molins said that Abaaoud and an accomplice planned to blow themselves up in Paris' business district, La Defense, the following week. But they were killed in a Nov. 18 raid on an apartment in the suburb of Saint-Denis in which a suicide bomber detonated.
A cousin of Abaaoud's, Hasna Ait Boulahcen, also died in the explosion, Molins said. Investigators later found a pistol, grenade fragments and two explosive vests in the apartment.
The accomplice has not yet been identified, Molins said.
Molins also said that Jawad Bendaoud, suspected of renting the Saint-Denis apartment to the terrorists, had been indicted for involvement in a criminal terrorist association. Bendaoud has told a French television station that he had been asked to host two people in his apartment for three days, but he didn't know they were affiliated with terrorism.