The suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks and an accomplice planned to blow themselves up in a suicide attack on the city's La Defense business district, the chief prosecutor said on Tuesday.
Belgian jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud (see photo below) aimed to target the area in western Paris in the week after the November 13 carnage, which left 130 people dead in the French capital, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters.
Abaaoud was killed in a hail of bullets the Wednesday following the attacks during a police raid on a flat in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.
Rumours had emerged that he was part of a fourth team that was planning an attack on La Defense or Charles de Gaulle airport, but on Tuesday the prosecutor confirmed the target was Paris's equivalent of the City in London.
The high rise district, full of skyscrapers, lies to the west of the capital and is where many of France's biggest companies have their headquarters.
Prosecutor Molins also revealed that Abaaoud returned to the scene of the attacks while the siege at the Bataclan concert venue was still under way.
Telephone analysis showed that Abaaoud had returned to the area around the Bataclan — where 90 people were killed by three assailants — while the police operation to free hostages was ongoing.
“The analysis leads us to believe that Abaaoud returned to the scene of the crimes after the attack carried out on people sitting at tables at restaurants while the BRI (elite police commando units) were intervening at the Bataclan,” said Molins.
Abaaoud had also been in contact by phone with Bilal Hadfi, one of the suicide bombers who detonated his explosives outside the Stade de France.