PARIS (REUTERS) – Investigators sorting through body parts from a flat raided by French police on Wednesday now believe Hasna Aitboulahcen, the woman who died there, was not the one wearing a suicide belt, a source close to the investigation said.
Headlines flashed around the world this week that Aitboulahcen had become Europe’s first woman suicide bomber, after officials said they believed she had blown herself up at the scene of the raid in a northern Paris suburb.
Two other people died at the flat in Saint-Denis on the city’s outskirts after Aitboulahcen, believed to be the cousin of suspected Paris Nov 13 attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud, took Abaaoud there on Tuesday evening.
One of the dead has been confirmed as Islamist militant Abaaoud.
The other has yet to be identified.
Police had been hunting Abaaoud since the killing of 130 people in Paris on Nov 13, which was claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and which they believe he orchestrated.
“The initial findings from the special police indicated that it (the suicide belt wearer) was her,” said the source.
“But the skull we found on the pavement was not hers.”
The fighting at the flat was so intense that not only were the police unable initially to identify the bodies, it took more than a day for investigators to establish that there had been three people and not two.