A woman who tipped off French police about the hiding place of the mastermind of the Paris attacks has spoken out about the experience for the first time.
Now living under police protection, she explained how she accompanied Hasna Aitboulahcen, the cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, to his hiding place near Aubervilliers.
When she soon realised that Abaaoud was planning a second terror attack, she attempted to get Aitboulahcen drunk so she couldn’t help him to carry it out. She then got in touch with the police to tell them his plans.
The woman told The Washington Post that she acted as a surrogate mother to Aitboulahcen and did feel a sense of guilt over her death.
It’s important that the world knows that I am Muslim myself. It’s important to me that people know what Abaaoud and the others did is not what Islam is teaching.
They stayed together for three years and during this time Aitboulahcen went through periods of drug and alcohol abuse, and would disappear for weeks at a time.
This behaviour apparently changed when she began messaging someone in Syria, who was believed to be Abaaoud. That’s when she started wearing a niqab and talking about the possibility of a potential marriage.
However, it’s believed that she was completely unaware of Abaaoud’s involvement in the Paris attacks until their meeting in the woods.
That’s when she was asked to find accommodation for him and to buy smart clothes and shoes for him and his associates, which would be used as disguises for a second attack on the French capital.
Abaooud later called Aitboulahcen to say that he would kill if she spoke to anyone about their meeting and that is when the woman tried to get Aitboulahcen drunk.
Later that week, French police raided the flat Aitboulahcen rented for Abaaoud.
He was killed when a suicide vest detonated, causing the ceiling to cave in and crush him to death.