Belgian media reported that the country’s authorities are currently searching in Greece and Turkey for the “mastermind” behind the group that was organizing terrorist attacks in Belgium. “With help from the FBI, our authorities are looking for the leader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who funded the jihadist cell,” noted the newspaper La Dernière Heure.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud is a 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin, who joined the ranks of ISIS. He has appeared in several videos that the Islamic State has posted online. In one of the videos he drove a vehicle dragging four corpses that had been mutilated by members of the extremist organization.
According to the Flemish television network VTM, investigations on the terrorist cell started between Christmas and the New Year when a prisoner in Ladino, eastern Belgium, received suspicious phone calls. Belgian authorities had tapped the phone and discovered that Abdelhamid Abaaoud was communicating with suspected jihadists through the prisoner — who is the brother of one of the suspects that were killed Thursday night during the police operation in Verviers.
According to VTM, these phone calls were traced back to Greece. The newspaper La Dernière Heure added that the suspect may also be located in Turkey. The federal prosecutor in charge of the investigation did not confirm nor deny this information.