Documents show French authorities have identified leader of November 13 attacks

Policemen are seen near the Rue de la Republique in Saint-Denis, France on November 18, 2015 searching for the men behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives. Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters Paris, France Jul 13, 2016, 11.38 AM (IST)
French authorities say they have identified the commander of the November 13 Islamist militant attacks on Paris and know that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, cornered and killed days later by police, played a lesser role.

Newly published official documents cite testimony by Bernard Bajolet, France's head of external security, to a closed-door parliamentary inquiry into France's anti-terrorism activities held on May 24.

Bajolet did not identify who authorities now think was commander, or whether the person is alive or dead.

Abaaoud was initially described as the leader of the machine gun and suicide bomb attacks on the Bataclan music hall, Paris bars and restaurants, and the Stade de France football stadium, in which 130 people died.

"It is true that Abaaoud was a coordinator, but he was not the commander," Bajolet was quoted as saying. "We know who the commander is, but I will stay discreet on that point.

"We now have a good knowledge of the organogram . We have made progress on these subjects, we therefore have an idea of the identity of the commander."

Parliament published recommendations of the inquiry last week and released its full report on Tuesday.