Paris attacks: police and truth

A witness reveals herself as a whistleblower and a report corrects the story of the fierce gun battle at the terrorist safe house in Saint Denis

The rough attention to details of police actions in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 attacks in. November in Paris is no longer there. Nevertheless, it is interesting what is added to it. Two reports published today in the newspaper Le Monde put the police work in a somewhat different light.

Some people may have heard the story that the analysis of data from a discarded cell phone led the police on the trail of the wanted assassin Abdelhamid Abaaoud. First news after the storming of the hideout in Saint Denis by police special units on 18.November suggested this.

Politically, this was water in the mouths of those who argue for more data collection capabilities for authorities and for less lockdown capabilities (see Thrown away cell phone led police to a terrorist safe house).

Now it turns out that a young woman had called the police at the time and put them on the trail of Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve thinks little of their anonymous appearance on TV stations. The best way to behave is to remain silent, he told the media. The young woman complains that she is now living a life cut off from social contacts and that the state has not given her nearly the help she was promised. It is probably also about money, which it now gets through its revelations.

"The cafe terraces, that was me"

Her story can be summed up as follows: she was born on 18. November 2015 accompanied by her friend Hasna Ait Boulahcen, who is a cousin of wanted assassin Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Hasna Ait Boulahcen gets a call, a meeting place is arranged, the assassin needs help finding shelter.

At the agreed location, the wanted man shows up and a rather frank dialogue ensues, in the course of which Abaaoud admits that he was involved in the attacks in Paris two days earlier.

He told me, "of course, the terraces (meaning the cafes, erg. d.A.), that was me."

At the same time, he announced new targets in the periphery of Paris, the neighborhood of La Defense and a commercial center. According to the young woman, this worried her. Abaaoud’s cousin does not listen to her friend’s concerns – "Es geht um das Leben Unschuldiger" – "But no, this is my cousin, you have to understand, he will finish his work and then he will leave."

The young woman decides to call the police. She has no regrets, she says during her TV appearance, but she has no life anymore.

The prosecutor’s office in Paris has opened an investigation because the lives of others were put in danger by the interview. Investigation targets BFMTV and RMC media outlets.

A Browning

A second report from Le Monde deals with inconsistencies in the storming of the safe house in Saint Denis. The day after, the public prosecutor’s office reported a fierce exchange of gunfire – 5.000 rounds were said to have been fired by the police officers alone (cf. Death of Abdelhamid Abaaoud confirmed).

In a later report by the domestic intelligence agency DGSI and the anti-terrorist department SDAT, which was obtained by the newspaper, officials of the legal police escort stated that the police fired 1.fired 500 rounds – and the terrorists. Only 11 cartridge cases have been found that can be attributed to a Browning pistol, caliber 9 mm Parabellum. According to the report, this was the only weapon that the people in the stormed apartment had.

Even in the neighboring apartments, after four days of searching, no other weapon was found. Many questions remain unanswered, newspaper says. For example, who actually shot the police dog in the action, but that may not be the most dicey.