The French inquiry into the attacks perpetrated by Islamic State (IS) in Paris on November 13 2015 has ended after four years.
The final pieces of the puzzle were put together by Belgian investigators, according to the Friday editions of Het Laatste Nieuws and De Morgen.
Reporters were able to take a look at the more than five hundred pages comprising the final request of the Paris Special Anti-terrorist Prosecutor’s Office.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office in Paris is demanding that criminal proceedings be initiated against twenty suspects.
Most of the names were known beforehand, as were the parts they played in the attacks. However, some inquiries concerning key figures whose identities had remained unknown for a long time were not resolved until the last moment.
The investigations concern a Syrian national, Omar Darif, who remained in Belgium for some time as a bomb maker. He arrived some days before Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the terrorist hit squad.
He went to buy the necessary materials and his DNA was found on the Abdeslam brothers’ suicide vests.
Omar Darif, is known to investigators thanks to a Syrian who fled the war to Belgium and works in a Flanders bakery. He has no links to IS, but some members of his family belong to the group. Belgian detectives spoke to him in April 2018.
The Belgian witness also identified a second man, for whom the French authorities issued an arrest warrant two months ago and who is also now one of twenty people suspected of being involved in the Paris massacre.
This is one Obeida Aref Dibo, a Syrian reported to have trained fighters. He was already known to investigators under the false name Abu Walid.
The final piece of the French inquiry puzzle concerned Oussama Atar, who is said to have played a role in the conspiracy.
French justice has for a long time considered the Moroccan to be a ringleader from IS, but there was little or no proof that Atar is indeed the mysterious Abou Ahmed, whom the perpetrators themselves named as their leader.
Here too, Belgian investigators came up with a new factor. When they questioned the Syrian combattant Mehdi Aïda, on his return from the country, he confirmed that Oussama Atar was going by the name of Abou Ahmed – and that it had effectively been said in Syria that Atar was linked to the Paris attack.
That was enough for the French Public Prosecutor’s Office to want to pursue Atar as the ringleader.