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Suicide bomber was man, not woman, Paris prosecutor says

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins. On Friday, his office announced that a suicide bomber who died at a Saint-Denis apartment during a battle with police was not a woman, as originally thought. A head found in the street outside the apartment Friday – suicide bombers often are decapitated by the blast – was determined to be a man.
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins. On Friday, his office announced that a suicide bomber who died at a Saint-Denis apartment during a battle with police was not a woman, as originally thought. A head found in the street outside the apartment Friday – suicide bombers often are decapitated by the blast – was determined to be a man. AP

Not long after investigators discovered a third body in the collapsed Saint-Denis apartment that anti-terror police had raided early Wednesday, the Paris prosecutor announced Friday that the suicide bomber who died during the attack was a man – and not a woman as widely reported.

For two days, it had appeared that Hasna Aït Boulahcen, 26, whose passport was found in the apartment, had detonated a suicide belt as police closed in. But investigators had been cautious as they sifted through the scene, a slow process because the raid caused the floor to collapse and left the building unsafe.

Then on Friday, they discovered a head and a piece of a spinal cord in the street outside – the remains of someone who’d been blown up. Forensic teams determined that the head had belonged to a man. Decapitation is a common occurrence in suicide belt explosions.

The man has not been identified. The English newspaper The Guardian talked to the prosecutor and quoted him saying: “All I can tell you is that the kamikaze was not Hasna.”

She is, however, reported to be a cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the so-called mastermind behind the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 and injured 351. Police now believe she was caught by the blast when the suicide bomber detonated his belt.

Matthew Schofield: @mattschodcnews

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