By Gérard Bon
French investigators have confirmed that Belgian-Moroccan Chakib Akrouh, who blew himself up when trapped by police on Nov 18, was the third member of the three-man unit that killed dozens of cafe-goers during a multipronged Islamist attack on Paris days earlier.
The confirmation by a French judiciary official comes two months after the Islamic State-claimed assault of Nov 13, in which nine men, split into three groups, attacked a sports stadium, a string of cafes and a concert hall, killing 130.
The judiary official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the third member of the team that conducted the gun attacks on cafes and restaurants was 25-year-old Akrouh, identified on Thursday via DNA samples from body parts recovered at the flat where he triggered a suicide vest during a police raid.
In that siege in St Denis, on the northern outskirts of Paris, police killed two others – the suspected ringleader of the attacks, another Belgian-Moroccan named Abdelhamid Abaaoud and his cousin, a woman named Hasna Aitboulahcen.
The most deadly of the Nov 13 attacks was at the Bataclan rock venue where all three attackers died after killing 90 concert-goers.
Beyond the Bataclan and cafe attacks, a third group of three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France sports stadium north of Paris. The identity of two of those three remains unclear.
An arrest warrant has also been issued for Salah Abdeslam, who travelled to Paris from Belgium with several of the now dead assailants and may possibly have been supposed to blow himself up in another attack but instead fled back to Belgium and subsequently vanished.
Fifty people out of some 400 injured in the worst attack on France since World War Two are still in hospital, with a few of those still in intensive care units, Health Minister Marisol Touraine said earlier this week.