Father of Paris attacks ringleader wishes son was taken alive

Brussels: The father of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged ringleader of the Paris attacks, said he regretted his son died in a shootout with police in France, his lawyer said today.

“Omar Abaaoud regrets that his son was not taken alive,” Nathalie Gallant told journalists two days after the 28-year-old was gunned down north of Paris.

“My client is extremely calm and expected that things would end badly. He only feels anger and disgust towards his son,” she said.

Her client, who now lives in Morocco and suffers from “severe depression”, “wishes that Abdelhamid could have faced questioning to understand how he took such a bad turn,” she added.

He is also eager to hear the fate of his younger son Younes, whom Abdelhamid brought with him to Syria in January 2014 when the boy was only 13.

Until he was killed, Abdelhamid Abaaoud was one of the most wanted men in the world, suspected of plotting several foiled attacks in France and Belgium before the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

But Abaaoud was more of a follower than a natural leader, the jihadist’s former lawyer Alexandre Chateau told RTBF.

“He was rather reserved, eager for recognition from those around him,” said Chateau, who defended Abaaoud in a series of cases involving violence and petty crime starting in 2006 and before his radical turn.

The lawyer last saw his client in 2013 and until then never noticed a leaning towards radicalism besides a few details such as the fact that he had grown a beard.

“These small signs gave me the impression that he was putting his criminal life behind him,” the lawyer added.