The Latest VOA Special English
Archive of VOA Special English
Moroccan-Belgian Named Leader of Paris Attack

    2015/11/16

    French officials say the man who is suspected of organizing Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris is Belgian citizen Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

    Police say Abaaoud is 27 years old. He is said to be part of a Brussels-based terrorist cell. He avoided capture in Europe and is believed to be in Syria.

    Belgian media says Abaaoud is of Moroccan descent. He has been wanted since January following a gun battle with police in eastern Belgium.

    Still image of Abdelhamid Abaaoud made available in the Islamic State's English-language magazine Dabiq. (AP)
    Still image of Abdelhamid Abaaoud made available in the Islamic State's English-language magazine Dabiq. (AP)

    Abaaoud is suspected of organizing the attacks Friday that left at least 129 people dead and more than 300 wounded in Paris. He has also been linked to failed attacks on a Paris-bound train in August and a church in April.

    Abaaoud played a part in recruiting others to join the Islamic State group. He even recruited his own 13-year-old brother, according to French media.

    The Guardian reports Abaaoud spent time fighting with the Islamic State, also called ISIS, in Syria. His link to the terrorist group came after he was identified in an ISIS video.

    French police continued to raid possible terrorist safe houses Monday. More than 150 raids have taken place. The raids took place in Toulouse, Grenoble, Jeumont, Lyon and the Paris suburbs. Ten people were detained. Weapons also were taken in the raids, including a rocket launcher, guns and bulletproof vests.

    French investigators identified one suicide bomber of Friday’s attacks as Samy Amkimour. Amkimour was a 28-year-old Frenchman charged in a terrorism investigation in 2012.

    I'm Mario Ritter.

    Lisa Bryant reported on this story for VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

    This is a developing story. We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or visit our 51VOA.COM.

    ________________________________________________________________

    Words in This Story

    cell – n. a small group of people who work together secretly as part of a larger organization or group

    descent – n. the people in your family who lived before you were born

    recruit – v. to find people and get them to join an organization

    rifle – n. a gun that has a long barrel and that is held against your shoulder when you shoot it

    vest – n. a special piece of clothing that you wear on your upper body for protection or safety