Report: ISIS had bigger plans for Paris attacks

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Flowers and candle tributes are placed at the Restaurant Le Carillon in Paris in 2015, after terror attacks that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds of others. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)
Flowers and candle tributes are placed at the Restaurant Le Carillon in Paris in 2015, after terror attacks that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds of others. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

The coordinated bombings and shootings that left 130 dead in Paris last November were part of what ISIS had intended to be a much larger terror attack, CNN reported Monday.

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According to newly obtained documents on the Paris investigation, ISIS leaders in Syria had reportedly planned for the November strikes to hit other locations throughout France as well as the Netherlands and remain in contact with operatives throughout Europe today.

“ISIS is increasing its international attack planning,” said CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank. “It’s increasingly sophisticated in the way it does this. It’s set up an intricate, logistical support system for these terrorists … to launch these terrorist attacks.”

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Among the revelations gleaned from the 90,000 pages of investigative documents obtained by CNN are insight into the terrorist organization’s use of encrypted communication tools, such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram; and strategies for sneaking across borders, such as hiding in train bathrooms. The documents also reveal the lengths ISIS handlers go to keep their operations a secret, requiring the use of pseudonyms and providing operatives with only enough money and information needed to complete one phase of the mission at a time.

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In addition to new details about the capture and interrogations of Adel Haddadi and Muhammad Usman — the two men investigators believe planned to travel to Paris as part of the team of ISIS operatives that carried out the November attacks — the documents also identify a previously unnamed third suspected terrorist as Abid Tabaouni.

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According to CNN, Tabaouni managed to evade authorities for months after the Paris attack until he was ultimately arrested in July.

CNN also reported Monday that counterterrorism officials continue to discover the existence of more ISIS operatives throughout Europe, including the United Kingdom, suggesting an increased effort to coordinate future attacks on the continent.

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