Advertisement

Terror in Paris: What have investigators uncovered about the Paris attacks?

Many questions remain about last week's bombing and shooting rampage in Paris.

How much of a role did Islamic State's leadership in Syria play in planning the attacks? How much was left in the hands of conspirators in Belgium, France and beyond? Did some of the gunmen manage to get away that night? And could they strike again?

But as international investigators race to fill in the gaps, a picture is beginning to emerge of the deadly network of Islamist radicals that carried out Europe's worst terrorist attack in more than a decade.

Here is what we know so far.

What happened?

French authorities say three teams of attackers hit six locations over a three-hour period Friday night.

A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan concert hall after the shootings in Paris. (Thibault Camus / Associated Press)

Between 9:20 p.m. and 9:53 p.m., three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France soccer arena in St.-Denis, just north of Paris, killing themselves and a passerby.

Between 9:25 p.m. and 9:36 p.m., gunmen opened fire on patrons at bars and restaurants on the east side of Paris. At least 15 people were killed at Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant in Rue Alibert; five outside Cafe Bonne Biere on Rue de la Fontaine au Roi, and 19 at La Belle Equipe cafe on Rue de Charonne.

At 9:40 p.m., a suicide bomber blew himself up on the terrace of the Comptoir Voltaire, a cafe on Boulevard Voltaire, seriously wounding one person.

At the same time, three gunmen stormed into a performance by the Eagles of Death Metal at the historic Bataclan concert hall and opened fire on more than 1,000 people. At least 89 people were killed along with the three assailants. Two of the attackers detonated suicide vests, while the third was shot by police.

FRANCE

Detailed

Paris

EIFFEL

TOWER

9:30 p.m.

Second Bomb

 

3

Stade de France

9:20 p.m.

1

Three suicide bombers

attack outside the stadium,

killing themselves and

one passerby.

First bomb

9:53 p.m.

8

Third bomb

Gunmen opened fire at popular nightspots and

stormed a performance of the Eagles of Death Metal

at the Bataclan concert hall

1 MILE

Gare du Nord

train station

9:25 p.m.

Le Petit Cambodge restaurant

and Le Carillon bar

2

2

9:40 p.m.

15 victims killed

4

Cafe Bonne Bierre

5 victims killed

9:40 p.m.

Bataclan concert hall

7

89 victims killed,

three assailants dead

CHARLIE HEBDO

Site of Jan. 9 attack

9:36 p.m.

La Belle

Equipe cafe

5

19 victims

killed

9:40 p.m.

6

Comptoir

Voltaire cafe

One assailant

dead

FRANCE

Detailed

Paris

EIFFEL

TOWER

9:30 p.m.

Second Bomb

 

3

Stade de France

9:20 p.m.

1

Three suicide bombers

attack outside the stadium,

killing themselves and

one passerby.

First bomb

9:53 p.m.

8

Third bomb

Gunmen opened fire at popular nightspots and stormed a performance

of the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan concert hall

1 MILE

Gare du Nord

train station

9:25 p.m.

Le Petit Cambodge restaurant

and Le Carillon bar

2

2

9:40 p.m.

15 victims killed

Cafe Bonne Bierre

4

5 victims killed

9:40 p.m.

Bataclan concert hall

7

89 victims killed,

three assailants dead

LOUVRE

CHARLIE HEBDO

Site of Jan. 9 attack

9:36 p.m.

La Belle

Equipe cafe

5

NOTRE DAME

CATHEDRAL

19 victims

killed

9:40 p.m.

6

Comptoir

Voltaire cafe

One assailant dead

FRANCE

9:30 p.m.

Detailed

Second Bomb

 

3

Stade de France

9:20 p.m.

1

Paris

Three suicide bombers

attack outside the stadium,

killing themselves and

one passerby.

First bomb

EIFFEL

TOWER

9:53 p.m.

8

Third bomb

Gunmen opened fire at popular nightspots and stormed a performance

of the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan concert hall

1 MILE

Gare du Nord

train station

9:25 p.m.

Le Petit Cambodge restaurant

and Le Carillon bar

2

2

9:40 p.m.

15 victims killed

Cafe Bonne Bierre

4

5 victims killed

9:40 p.m.

Bataclan concert hall

7

89 victims killed, three assailants dead

LOUVRE

CHARLIE HEBDO

Site of Jan. 9 attack

9:36 p.m.

La Belle Equipe cafe

5

NOTRE DAME

CATHEDRAL

19 victims killed

9:40 p.m.

6

Comptoir

Voltaire cafe

One assailant dead

FRANCE

9:30 p.m.

Second Bomb

Detailed

3

Stade de France

9:20 p.m.

1

Paris

Three suicide bombers

attack outside the stadium,

killing themselves and

one passerby.

First bomb

EIFFEL

TOWER

9:53 p.m.

8

Third bomb

Gunmen opened fire at popular nightspots and stormed a performance of the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan concert hall

1 MILE

Gare du Nord

train station

9:25 p.m.

Le Petit Cambodge restaurant

and Le Carillon bar

2

2

9:40 p.m.

15 victims killed

4

Cafe Bonne Bierre

5 victims killed

9:40 p.m.

Bataclan concert hall

7

89 victims killed, three assailants dead

LOUVRE

CHARLIE HEBDO

Site of Jan. 9 attack

9:36 p.m.

5

La Belle Equipe cafe

NOTRE DAME

CATHEDRAL

19 victims

killed

9:40 p.m.

6

Comptoir

Voltaire cafe

One assailant dead

FRANCE

9:30 p.m.

Second Bomb

3

Detailed

Stade de France

9:20 p.m.

1

Paris

Three suicide bombers

attack outside the stadium,

killing themselves and

one passerby.

First bomb

EIFFEL

TOWER

9:53 p.m.

8

Third bomb

Gunmen opened fire at popular nightspots and stormed a performance of the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan concert hall

1 MILE

Gare du Nord

train station

9:25 p.m.

Le Petit Cambodge restaurant

and Le Carillon bar

2

2

15 victims killed

9:32 p.m.

Cafe Bonne Bierre

4

5 victims killed

9:40 p.m.

Bataclan concert hall

7

89 victims killed, three assailants dead

LOUVRE

CHARLIE HEBDO

Site of Jan. 9 attack

9:36 p.m.

La Belle cafe

5

NOTRE DAME

CATHEDRAL

19 victims killed

9:40 p.m.

6

Comptoir Voltaire cafe

One assailant dead

Sources: Times and wire reports

@latimesgraphics


Who were the victims?

At least 129 people were killed and more than 350 injured in the attacks, many of them critically.

The attackers took aim at “the France that likes life, culture, sports, parties,” French President Francois Hollande said.

Most of the victims were young -- many younger than 30 -- and they came from 19 countries.

At least one American was among those killed. Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old senior at Cal State Long Beach, was at a bistro with three friends when gunmen opened fire from a passing vehicle. Her friends managed to escape, but Gonzalez was wounded and later died.

Strate-Ecole de Design posted this photo of Nohemi Gonzalez on Facebook. (KTLA)

Who took part in the attacks?

Seven attackers died during Friday's assault. Six blew themselves up with explosives vests and the other was shot by police.

French investigators have identified four of the men, all French nationals.

Ismael Omar Mostefai, 29, was one of the suicide bombers inside the Bataclan concert venue. He was identified from a print taken from his severed finger, which was found in the hall.

Some of the suspects in the Paris attacks, clockwise from top left: Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Salah Abdeslam, Bilal Hadfi and Samy Amimour. (AFP/ Getty Images)

Born just outside Paris, Mostefai had reportedly been on a watch list as someone susceptible to radicalization but not yet requiring extensive surveillance. He was known to police as a small-time criminal whose offenses included driving without a license and insulting behavior toward authority. The daily newspaper Le Monde said Mostefai probably spent the winter of 2013-14 in Syria.

Samy Amimour, 28, also took part in the attack on the concert hall. He was charged in a terrorism investigation in 2012 after an unsuccessful attempt to travel to Yemen. He was put under judicial supervision but then disappeared in the fall of 2013. An international warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Brahim Abdeslam, 31, is the suicide bomber who blew himself up outside a Paris eatery but did not kill anyone else. He had been living in Belgium.

Bilal Hadfi, 20, had also been living in Belgium but went to Syria in February. News reports identified him as one of the three suicide bombers who struck outside the Stade de France.

What is the significance of a Syrian passport?

French police are asking for help identifying one of the suicide bombers outside the soccer stadium.(SICOP)

Fingerprints taken from another of the suicide bombers outside the stadium matched those of a presumed asylum seeker who arrived in Europe via Greece in October.

A Syrian passport was found near the man’s body identifying the holder as Ahmad Al Mohammad, 25, from Idlib, Syria. But the passport is not thought to be authentic. According to some reports, Mohammad was a Syrian soldier who died some time ago.

French authorities circulated a photograph asking for help identifying the dead attacker.

Are there other suspects?

French police are searching for Salah Abdeslam. (French National Police)


Authorities are searching for at least one other suspect. On Sunday, the French National Police issued an alert for Salah Abdeslam, a Belgian-born French national. Abdeslam, 26, is the younger brother of one of the suicide bombers.

Media reports said he rented the black Volkswagen Polo used to transport the three gunmen who attacked the Bataclan. The car was found parked near the theater.

Some witnesses also placed Abdeslam in a black SEAT car with his brother, Brahim, that was used to attack nearby eateries.

French investigators believe another man may have been in the car with them and were racing to identify the potential suspect.

A third brother, Mohammad Abdeslam, was detained in Belgium over the weekend but later released.

What is the Belgian connection?

Several avenues of inquiry in the international investigation have led back to Molenbeek St. Jean, a sprawling district across an industrial canal from Brussels’ historic core that is known to harbor Islamist radicals.

Authorities say several of the militants who carried out the attacks in Paris lived in Brussels' Molenbeek suburb. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images)

Investigators believe the plot's ringleader was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a native of Molenbeek who went to Syria to join Islamic State. Abaaoud, who was 27 or 28, had been linked to a string of thwarted attacks in Europe and bragged in an Islamic State magazine of his ability to elude Western intelligence agencies.

On Thursday, French authorities confirmed that he was one of at least two people killed in a raid in the Parisian suburb of St.-Denis the previous day. Eight people were taken into custody during the seven-hour operation, which a French prosecutor said "neutralized" a cell that was poised to strike.

Prosecutors have said that several of the militants who carried out Friday’s rampage were French nationals who had been living in the area. The three cars used in the attacks arrived in Paris the day before in a convoy from Belgium.

On Tuesday, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office charged two men arrested over the weekend with being part of the plot. Lawyers for Mohammed Amri and Hamza Attou say the men acknowledged driving to Paris to pick up Abdeslam, the fugitive, and bring him to Brussels early Saturday but deny any role in the attacks.

How has France responded?

The French government has vowed to mount an all-out response against Islamic State, whose base in northern Syria was the target of heavy airstrikes this week by French warplanes.

Members of the French Foreign Legion stand guard near the Eiffel Tower. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

In a rare address to both houses of Parliament on Monday, Hollande declared that “France is at war.” He asked lawmakers to extend France's state of emergency and grant the government extended powers to combat the threat of terrorism.

Police have raided scores of locations across the country and more than 100 people have been placed under house arrest, officials say.

Full coverage of the Paris attacks

Times staff writers Henry Chu in Paris, Patrick J. McDonnell in Molenbeek St. Jean and Richard A. Serrano in Washington contributed to this report.

 For more international news, follow @alexzavis on Twitter

Updates

4:42 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the plotters.

Nov. 18, 7:56 p.m.: This article was updated with an eighth person detained Wednesday.

Nov. 18, 9 a.m.: This article was updated with a raid targeting the suspected ringleader.

Nov. 17, 8:57 p.m.: This article was updated with the identity of another suicide bomber who struck outside the stadium.

6.29 p.m.: This article was updated with the latest developments in the investigation.

This article was originally published on Nov. 16 at 6:37 p.m.

Advertisement
Advertisement