A leading Belgian jihadist who is one of the most active ISIS operators in Syria is the suspected mastermind behind the Paris massacre, according to reports.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who once boasted about evading Western intelligence, is also said to be linked to the thwarted attacks on a Paris-bound high-speed train and a church near the French capital earlier this year.
"He appears to be the brains behind several planned attacks in Europe," a source told Reuters, adding that the 27-year-old was investigators' best lead as the person likely behind the killing of at least 129 people in Paris on Friday. NBC News could not independently confirm the reports.
The child of Moroccan immigrants who grew up in the Belgian capital's scruffy and multiethnic Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighborhood, the fugitive, in his late 20s, was identified by French authorities on Monday as the presumed mastermind of the attacks last Friday in Paris that killed 129 people and injured hundreds.