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Two killed as hunt for Paris attack mastermind intensifies

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Paris: One person was shot dead and a woman suicide bomber blew herself up on Wednesday here as the police mounted a major operation to get the man who masterminded the Paris terror attack, media reports said.

As many as seven deafening blasts shook the Paris suburb of Saint Denis and heavy gunfire broke out at about 4.30 a.m. when the police surrounded an apartment where key suspect Abdelhamid Abaaoud was holed up.

Al Jazeera reported that suspects of the deadly November 13 Paris attacks that left at least 129 people dead were in that apartment. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Friday night’s horrific attacks.

Christian, a resident of Saint Denis’ rue de la République, told local French channel BFMTV that there was noise of gunfire and police fired shots into an apartment. Later blasts smashed the windows in the flat and a mattress was flung out of the window, The Telegraph reported.

Sources told Al Jazeera that two people were killed and two others were detained in the operation. The report said it was not clear who the victims were. Three police officers were also wounded in the initial shoot-out, the sources said.

A passer-by was killed during gunfire, reported Xinhua, citing BFMTV. The Telegraph reported that a woman suicide bomber blew herself up.

The target of the police operation was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the key suspect of the terror attacks at six locations in Paris, leaving over 350 injured.

Another suspect, Salah Abdeslam, was also said to be a target in the raid.

Heavily armed special police units and ambulances gathered at the scene as a helicopter hovered over the area.

Al Jazeera described Saint-Denis a relatively poor area, housing many immigrants. It is near the area of the national stadium Stade de France, where suicide bombers had struck on Friday.

Officials said they blocked off a street in the area, as ambulances and fire engines lined the streets.

(IANS)

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The Son Of The Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi Dies: IS

Al-Baghdadi's fate is still unknown

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This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son.
This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son. VOA

The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.

Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.

“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.

Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.

The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.

An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

Islamic Terrorism in NYC
Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. VOA

Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.

Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.

Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.

Also read: Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

It was reported that only the girl was al-Baghdadi’s daughter. The two boys belonged to a man his wife had married before meeting al-Baghdadi. (IANS)