Days after the massacre in Paris that killed 130 people, mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud met with two Muslim women, one of whom secretly tipped off police to his whereabouts and future terror plans, according to documents revealed to The Washington Post on Sunday.
The files from French investigators show that Abaaoud, 28, reached out to his cousin, Hasna Aitboulahcen, through an accomplice over the phone and offered her 5,000 euros to help him find a hiding place and to pay for new suits and shoes.
Aitboulahcen, 26, helped Abaaoud avoid authorities for days after the November attacks, according to the Post. But the other woman, Aitboulahcen’s surrogate mother of several years, reportedly met police in secret, giving them a detailed account of her interaction with Abaaoud.
She was unaware of who she was going to meet when she and Aitboulahcen were brought to the hiding place, the newspaper adds.
“I’d seen him on TV,” she later told police, recalling videos from Syria of Abaaoud dragging dead bodies behind a truck.
After the initial meeting, the woman reportedly got into a car with her husband, Aitboulahcen and Abaaoud, driving about 150 yards before the terror mastermind changed his mind and got out of the car.
Days later, Aitboulahcen left her surrogate family to return to Abaaoud with the shoes and suits he wanted, according to the documents. When the woman asked for a place to retrieve Aitboulahcen, she was given an address to the apartment in Saint-Denis, which the woman then gave to the police.
That night ultimately led to a raid on the Saint-Denis apartment, where Abaaoud and Aitboulahcen were killed by a suicide bomb.
Authorities learned that Abaaoud was planning additional attacks, according to the Post.
“It’s important the world knows that I am Muslim myself,” the woman said, citing that as a reason for being willing to speak to The Post. “It’s important to me that people know what Abaaoud and the others did is not what Islam is teaching.”
The woman, in her 40s, asked to keep her identity hidden out of safety, despite being in protective custody.
“I no longer feel safe when I walk around. [Abaaoud] said they had many operatives… It could be anybody around here.”