Paris attacks: Turkey says it notified France twice about attacker, says senior official

Ismael Omar Mostefai is the only attacker to have formally been named by police in France

Orhan Coskun
Belek, Turkey
,Humeyra Pamuk
Monday 16 November 2015 13:02
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People weep as they gather to observe a minute-silence at the Place de la Republique in memory of the victims of the Paris terror attacks
People weep as they gather to observe a minute-silence at the Place de la Republique in memory of the victims of the Paris terror attacks

Turkey notified France twice in December 2014 and June 2015 about one of the attackers in suicide bombings and shootings in Paris that killed more than 130 people, a senior Turkish government official said on Monday.

Turkey only received an information request from France about Ismael Omar Mostefai after Friday's attacks, the Turkish official said. Mostefai entered Turkey in 2013 but there was no record of him leaving again, the official said.

Mostefai, 29, from Chartres, southwest of Paris, is the only attacker to have formally been named by police in France. He was identified by the print from one of his fingers that was severed when his suicide vest exploded.

Turkey received an information request from France on Oct. 10, 2014, regarding four terror suspects but during its investigation identified a fifth individual, Mostefai, the official said. It twice notified France of its findings but only heard back after Friday's attacks.

Silence for Paris victims

The senior government official said Mostefai entered Turkey in 2013 but there was no record of him exiting.

Under pressure from Western allies to ramp up its fight against Islamic State, Ankara opened up its air bases to the U.S.-led coalition in July and has tightened border controls to try to stop the flow of foreign jihadists.

But it has complained about a lack of robust intelligence sharing between allies and urged the West to provide more information about potential suspects.

"This is not a time to play the blame game, but we are compelled to share (this) information to shed light on (Mostefai's) travel history," the Turkish official said.

"(His) case clearly establishes that intelligence sharing and effective communication are crucial to counter-terrorism efforts," the official said.

Reuters

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