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Third bomber at Paris's Bataclan music hall identified

Dominique Fajet | A policeman stands guard outside the Bataclan music hall the morning after the attacks, November 14, 2015

A 23-year-old man from the eastern French city of Strasbourg has been identified as the third bomber involved in the Nov. 13 attacks at Paris's Bataclan music hall, police sources said Wednesday.

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Foued Mohamed Aggad went to Syria with his brother and about a dozen friends from his Strasbourg neighbourhood of Meinau in 2013, according to David Thomson, an expert on jihadi groups at FRANCE 24’s sister radio station, RFI. The group returned to France in 2014, said Thomson.

A well-known figure on radical social media sites, Aggad fought in Iraq, where his wife – a French national – had a baby, according to Thomson.

The two other attackers involved in the massacre of 90 people at the Batalan – Ismail Omar Mostefai, 29, and 28-year-old former Paris bus driver Samy Amimour – had also been in Syria.

Mostefai and Amimour blew themselves up with suicide belts packed with explosives after the killing spree, the worst of the November 13 Paris attacks which killed 130 people.

Aggad was shot by police who stormed the venue. He was identified at the end of last week after his DNA was matched with those of his family members, a police source told the AFP.

Suspected ties to notorious jihadist recruiter

Most of the men from Strasbourg who went to Syria with Aggad were arrested in Meinau – an impoverished, immigrant-dominated neighbourhood – upon their return to France last year, according to police sources.

Aggad, who did not have a criminal record, was believed to have remained in Syria.

When questioned upon their return, some of the men claimed they had been horrified by what they had witnessed in Syria and started to return to France in 2014.

Police suspect the men had been recruited by Mourad Fares, who was known to French intelligence for recruiting jihadist fighters through social media sites. Fares is under arrest and has been charged with terror-related offenses.

The arrested men claimed they had gone to Syria for humanitarian work but are suspected of joining the Islamic State (IS) group.

Nearly 1,500 people were watching the Californian band Eagles of Death Metal play when the shooting began last month, leaving 90 dead and hundreds hurt, mostly young people.

The band made an emotional return to the venue on Tuesday, with lead singer Jesse Hughes in tears as he laid a single flower among the piles of tributes to the dead.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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