A HUGE international manhunt is underway for the mastermind of the Paris terror attacks, named as jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
Abaaoud has been described as “one of the most active Isis executioners” in Syria and is known to have spent time fighting with Islamic State in the region.
He was named by a French official who has direct knowledge of the investigation.
He was known to security forces after appearing in an ISIS video at the wheel of a car transporting mutilated bodies to a mass grave.
The 28-year-old is said to originate from the now infamous Molenbeek district of Brussels, which has been the centre of police raids in recent days as detectives piece together who was behind the Paris attack.
Abaaoud, who has also spent time in Greece, was named as the mastermind of a jihadi cell in Belgium earlier this year but managed to evade arrest at the time.
Two suspects were shot dead in a fierce gun battle with police during the raid in the eastern Belgian town of Verviers in January, which was carried out in the days after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris at the beginning of the year that left 17 dead.
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Reports in January suggested the ISIS militant faked his own death in Syria so as to slip off the radar of Western security services.
In October 2014, his family in Brussels received a message to say that he had been "martyred”.
But Belgian investigators believe Abaaoud, rather than dying on the front line, travelled to Greece.
An expert in radicalisation posted on Twitter last summer that “one of the youngest foreign fighters we know of, Younes Abaaoud, who was 13 when he left Belgium to join ISIS” had been identified.
Shiraz Maher, a lecturer in war studies at King’s College London, tweeted the message along with a photo of the youngster.
Few details are known about Abaaoud’s wider family although his father is said to be a shopkeeper called Omar and originally from Morocco.
Samy Amimour, 28, from Bobigny, blew himself up inside the Bataclan theatre on Friday night.
And Bilal Hadfi also struck near the Stade de France stadium.
Abdeslam is the older brother of Saleh Abdeslam – the subject of an international manhunt after slipping through the grasp of French police.
Saleh, 26, dubbed the world's most wanted man, is suspected of renting a car that was used in the horrific attack at the Bataclan theatre.
He was reportedly detained by Belgian police during a raid in Molenbeek this morning.