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    Nov 16, 2015

    Severed finger used to identify one attacker


    IT WAS a severed finger that helped French investigators determine the identity of Ismael Omar Mostefai, the first of the seven gunmen in Friday's attacks on Paris to be named, the media reported.

    It was found among the carnage at the Bataclan concert hall, where two gunmen blew themselves up and a third was shot by police, according to the Agence France-Presse.

    Three suicide bombers also detonated explosives outside the Stade de France, and the seventh attacker blew himself up on a bustling avenue near Bataclan.

    French-born and of Algerian descent, Mostefai lived in the poor Paris suburb of Courcouronnes, said sources.

    His criminal record shows eight convictions for petty crimes between 2004 and 2010 but no jail time.

    Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Mostefai had been singled out as a target for radicalisation in 2010 but, before Friday, he had never been implicated in any investigation.

    Investigators are now probing whether he took a trip to Syria last year.

    An older brother of his said he had cut ties with Mostefai several years ago, and the last he heard of him was that he had gone to Algeria with his family and his "little girl".

    "I called my mother, she didn't seem to know anything," he said on Saturday.

    A source close to the inquiry said Mostefai regularly attended the mosque in Luce, close to Chartres to the south-west of Paris.

    French prosecutors said the slaughter appeared to involve a multinational team with links to the Middle East, Belgium and possibly Germany as well as home-grown French roots.

    France was the first European state to join United States air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

    Paris had also scheduled to send an aircraft carrier to the region later this month.