Hasna Ait Boulahcen – Europe’s first female suicide bomber – ‘did not blow herself up’

Boulahcen is reported to have shouted: 'Help me, help me, I am on fire,' prior to the explosion in Saint-Denis

Hasna Ait Boulahcen, the woman labelled "Europe's first woman suicide bomber" did not blow herself up during a police raid on an apartment building in Saint-Denis, new reports have claimed.

Despite French prosecutors initially saying she had detonated an explosives vest and died during the assault on Wednesday, a police source reportedly told Agence France-Presse​ news agency the suicide bomber who blew themselves up was a man, not a woman.

Boulahcen is reported to have shouted: “Help me, help me, I am on fire,” prior to the explosion. Her body parts were later found strewn across the road.

It was through intercepting Aitboulahcen's phone calls that security agencies were able to track her cousin Abdelhamid Abaaoud and six other terror suspects to their hiding place.

After the explosion of the suicide bomb, sporadic gunfire could be heard from within the flat.

Saint-Denis Raids explainer

Jean-Michel Fauvergue, the head of the elite Raid unit that led the operation, described his officers “saturating the place with grenades” when firing continued after Aitboulahcen had blown herself up and a sniper had hit another man. 

Officers eventually arrested three men from inside the building and another man and woman found outside.

Authorities believe they are part of a terror cell set to carry out a second attack, reportedly targeting Charles de Gaulle airport and Paris' financial district La Defense. 

Francois Molins, the Paris prosecutor, said the operation neutralised a “new terrorist threat”, and that “everything led us to believe that, considering their armaments, the structured organisation and their determination, they were ready to act”.

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