France says Belgian masterminded attacks

PARIS: A French official says the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks was also linked to thwarted train and church attacks.


A French official has identified the suspected mastermind as Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and says he is believed linked to thwarted attacks on a Paris-bound high-speed train and Paris area church.

The official, who has direct knowledge of the investigation, was not authorized to be publicly identified as speaking about the ongoing probe.

Earlier, Belgium’s foreign minister is urging European countries to exchange information more quickly and efficiently to better tackle extremists like the Islamic State group.

Didier Reynders told reporters on Monday that “we need to exchange more and more intelligence.”

He told reporters at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers that sharing intelligence “is the only one way to find the people with such a level of radicalization” as those who carried out the Paris attacks.

He also says Belgian authorities need “to organize more and more actions” in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, which has been a focal point for religious extremism and fighters going to Syria.

One of two French men believed to have carried out the attacks lived there.