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    Nov 17, 2015

    Belgian may be brains behind carnage: source


    A BELGIAN national of Moroccan descent, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is currently in Syria with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, is suspected of being the mastermind of Friday's attacks in Paris, according to a source who spoke to Reuters.

    "He appears to be the brains behind several planned attacks in Europe," the source said.

    According to France's RTL Radio, Abaaoud is from the run-down Molenbeek suburb of Brussels, which is now believed to be the base of the terror cell that carried out Friday's attacks.

    Three brothers linked to the attacks were found to have lived in Molenbeek, reported Agence France-Presse.

    One of them was arrested by Belgian police, while another named Ibrahim Abdeslam, a 31-year-old from France, had blown himself up on Paris' Boulevard Voltaire during the attacks, said AFP.

    The third, 26-year-old Brussels-born Saleh Abdeslam, is believed to be on the run.

    Another gunman Bilai Hadfi, whose role in the attack is not yet determined nor his nationality, had also lived in Belgium, the Washington Post reported.

    At least seven people have been detained in Belgium in connection to the attacks, The New York Times reported.

    Two of the gunmen involved in the worst carnage at the Bataclan theatre, where 89 were killed on Friday, have been identified as Paris natives - 29-year-old Omar Ismail Mostefai and 28-year-old Samy Amimour.

    The authorities have yet to verify whether one attacker at the Stade de France where three blew themselves up was a Syrian by the name of Ahmad Al Mohammad.

    French police carried out 168 searches yesterday, leading to the arrest of 23 suspected extremists and house arrest of more than 100 people, the interior minister said.