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More Evidence Confirms ISIS Is Behind Paris Attacks


We're learning more as we go about the identities of the attackers in Paris on Friday. Our counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston is in our studios. Dina, good morning.


INSKEEP: And what are you learning about the attackers?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, we're learning more about the possible mastermind. His name is Abdelhamid Abaaoud. He's currently in Syria. And this is all just coming in now to confirm. But the - it appears that the U.S. had picked up some chatter that talked about a possible attack in France back in September and passed that along to French authorities. And he may be related to that actual chatter that they picked up.

INSKEEP: OK, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a person who's been identified in Syria, identified as the possible mastermind of this. You told us earlier there is at least one Syrian identified among the attackers who came as a migrant and then joined in with people who were already in Paris. Is that correct?

TEMPLE-RASTON: That's correct. And I should be clear that Abaaoud is actually a Belgian who is currently in Syria. So the question's whether he was the mastermind, or whether he actually ordered the attack. Again, this is a little bit unclear as it's coming in, but again, this is another one of those threads that leads authorities to believe that ISIS is intricately involved in this.

INSKEEP: OK, thanks very much. Now, we've been talking with an analyst who sees Friday's attacks in Paris as part of a larger move by ISIS. The analyst is Will McCants. He wrote a book called "The ISIS Apocalypse" and he's connecting the Paris attacks with other recent incidents. ISIS was seen as a regional force, then came the downing of a Russian jetliner in which ISIS is suspected. ISIS claimed responsibility for bombings in Lebanon and now Paris.

WILL MCCANTS: This may represent a big shift in its strategy. At the very least, we can see the people affiliated with ISIS are able to carry out high-profile, highly sophisticated attacks that grab media attention and generate fear. And there are probably more people waiting to do the same in the wings.

INSKEEP: McCants wonders if ISIS is trying to lure Western nations into a deeper involvement in Syria's war. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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