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What we know about the Paris attackers

Thierry Orban/Getty Images

A lot is still unknown about who perpetrated Friday's attacks in Paris and why. But on Saturday, officials in France and elsewhere in Europe began releasing information about the attackers. On Friday night, Paris prosecutor François Molins spoke to reporters and provided details on what French authorities had discovered about the attacks so far. Other information has come out through various media outlets. Here's what we know so far.

1) There were eight attackers, of whom seven died in suicide blasts

According to the French authorities, eight total attackers have been identified. Seven of them died in suicide bombings. The eighth was killed by police as they raided the Bataclan theater, where the night's deadliest attack occurred, to rescue hostages there.

According to French officials, the eight attackers were organized into three teams that struck simultaneously in different parts of Paris. According to Molins, attackers used "war-type weapons," including Kalashnikov rifles, and explosive devices that used a substance called TATP. Molins said the devices used identical buttons for setting them off.

2) One attacker was a French national

Personal items believed to belong to a fleeing concert-goer lie on the pavement near the Bataclan theater in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

In a Saturday evening news conference, Molins said that one of the attackers had been identified by his fingerprints. He was born in France in 1985, and "was considered a radicalized person." He had a criminal record but had not spent time in jail. News reports indicate that the individual may have come to the attention of authorities as early as 2010.

3) Police in Belgium made arrests linked to the attacks

According to Molins, a French citizen rented a black VW Polo with Belgian license plates and drove it to Paris, where it was used by the attackers. That led authorities back to Belgium, where they arrested three suspects on Saturday.

4) A Syrian passport was found near the body of one attacker


Molins said that a Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the three suicide bombers who attacked the Stade de France soccer stadium. The passport's owner was born in 1990. According to Greek officials, the owner of the passport traveled through Greece in October.

This has led to speculation that it belonged to a Syrian refugee. If true, that fact would be seized on by those who advocate closing Europe to Syrian refugees. However, this could also prove to be a false alarm: The attackers detonated suicide devices before the police could take them into custody, leaving the bodies unrecognizable. So it's possible that the Syrian passport belongs to someone else who was on the scene of the attack, and not to one of the attackers, or that the attacker was traveling on a passport that was stolen or otherwise not his. (Update: There are also reports that the passport may be fake, although those have not been confirmed yet.)

5) One attacker may have had an Egyptian passport

Citing unnamed French media, Reuters reports that an Egyptian passport was found near the body of a suicide bomber near the Stade de France.

6) One suicide bomber was stopped from entering a soccer stadium

According to the Wall Street Journal, a would-be attacker tried to enter the 80,000-seat Stade de France stadium wearing a suicide vest. Fortunately, security personnel frisked the man and discovered the bomb.

The Journal reports that "while attempting to back away from security, the attacker detonated the vest." It's not clear how many people died in the explosion, but it was likely a lot fewer than would have died if he had made it inside.

7) Police stopped someone trying to sneak weapons into Germany last week

The Associated Press reports that on November 5, authorities stopped a man as he was crossing the German-Austrian border in his car. The AP says that "firearms, explosives and hand grenades were found" in the vehicle.

According to Germany's interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, the man's GPS device had a Paris address entered at the time of his arrest. But he cautioned against drawing hasty conclusions. "There is a connection to France but it's not certain that there is a link to this attack," he told reporters in Berlin, according to the AP. French authorities were alerted about the arrest, according to de Maizière.