Nearly a month after the horrific Paris terror attack, French authorities have successfully identified the third gunman who opened fire on the crowd at the Bataclan Theatre. Foued Mohamed-Aggad, 23, was born in Strasbourg in northeastern France. He spent some time in Syria in 2013 and authorities had thought he was still abroad.

A lawyer for his family told press that Mohamed-Aggad’s mother apparently received a text message from Syria about ten days ago which read simply: Your son died as a martyr on November 13. She contacted authorities, who used DNA testing to confirm Mohamed-Aggad’s involvement.

Reuters reports:

“The SMS message told her that her son had died, saying: “He died on November 13 with his brothers”,” said Francoise Cotta, lawyer for the mother and her family, who said the woman got the text message 10 days ago.

“She was instantly struck by the horrific thought that he might have been one of the Bataclan suicide attackers,” said Cotta, adding that she was asked by the dead man’s mother to get in touch with investigators.

Mohamed-Aggad went to Syria in late 2013 with a gang of others from his neighbourhood in an area outside the eastern French city of Strasbourg. Seven of the group were arrested in May 2014 after returning to France.

It remained unclear when and how Mohamed-Aggad returned to France, where intelligence services are under scrutiny over their monitoring of the movements of home-grown jihadists.

His older brother Karim, who also went to Syria, is in jail in France, the officials said.

Mohamed-Aggad was one of three to attack the crowd at the theater. However, unlike Samy Amimour and Omar Ismail Mostefai, his co-attackers, he did not have a criminal record and authorities did not have his DNA on file.

Mohamed-Aggad’s identity was released Wednesday afternoon in a press conference by French Prime Minister Manuel Valla. Valla stressed that while progress was being made, a full investigation of the attacks and the conspiracy behind them would take time.

“What is important is that the investigation is progressing, that the accomplices are found out, that arrests happen,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday.

“This will all take time. And in the face of the terrorist threat that is unfortunately here, we need to carry on with this work of tracking down terrorists because we are at war with radical Islam, with Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Most worrying, Mohamed-Aggad’s identification continues the home-grown terror trend. Thus far, all of the 13 identified terrorists have been French or Belgian citizens, many of whom spent time fighting in Syria.

Identification work still continues, however. Authorities have yet to determine the identity of one of the men killed with the suspected architect of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, during a police raid on Nov. 18.

Two bombers who detonated suicide vests outside of a soccer stadium were traveling on false papers. Their identities also remain unknown.


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