French police identify one of the assailants in Paris attacks

French police have identified one of the assailants in the Paris terrorist attacks as Ismael Omar Mostefai, a 29-year-old French national and one of the gunmen who blew himself up in a Paris concert hall.

Benoit Tessier/Reuters
A man attaches a banner, which translates as "Don't scare me", to a statue at Place de la Republique near sites of the deadly attacks in Paris, November 15, 2015. French police have identified one of the assailants in the Paris terrorist attacks as Ismael Omar Mostefai, a 29-year-old French national and one of the gunmen who blew himself up in a Paris concert hall.

French police have identified one of the assailants in the coordinated attacks in Paris as Ismael Omar Mostefai, a 29-year-old French national, and seven of his relatives are being questioned, sources and French media said on Sunday. 

Authorities had a dossier on Mostefai that marked him as a potential Islamist militant. He also had previous arrest records and had been sentenced eight times for petty crimes, according to French newspaper Le Monde. Mostefai was one of the gunmen who blew himself up in a Paris concert hall where most of the 129 deaths from the attacks late on Friday took place.

His father, a brother and five other people are being held for questioning, several French media reported on Sunday, as the hunt continued for others involved in the shootings.

The reports said searches were also being conducted in the relatives' homes in the northeastern Aube region and in Essonne, south of Paris.

Father-of-one Mostefai was born in Courcouronnes, a southern suburb of Paris and lived in Chartres, southwest of the capital. He is suspected to have stayed in Syria between 2013 and 2014, Le Monde reported.

A source close to the investigation also confirmed media reports that a vehicle, a black Seat, used in the attacks was found with some arms onboard in Montreuil, a suburb in the east of Paris. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Saturday that the Seat had been used in the attacks. 

A Frenchman who thought to have hired another car used in the attacks was stopped at the Belgian border on Saturday morning, along with two other people, Molins said.

Molins said investigated believed three coordinated teams had carried out the wave of attacks across Paris. They were the worst in Europe since the Madrid train bombings of 2004, in which Islamists killed 191 people. 

Friday's attacks were described as an "act of war" by President Francois Hollande.

The bloodshed came as France, a founder member of the U.S.-led coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, was already on high alert for terrorist attacks.

(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry, Danielle Rouquié and Nicolas Bertin; Writing by Andrew Callus and Bate Felix; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Mark John)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to French police identify one of the assailants in Paris attacks
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today