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French Authorities Confirm Identity Of Attacks' Mastermind


And I'm Steve Inskeep in Washington where our team examining the Paris bombings includes our counter-terrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston, who's in our studios. She is focused on one of the bombers, a man now confirmed to have come from Syria. And, Dina, who is he?

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Well the man is also known as attacker one, a man who was stopped by security before entering the soccer stadium. And this fingerprint indicates that a passport that they found near his body after he detonated a suicide vest is actually his passport.

INSKEEP: Oh, let's remember, people found this passport. They wondered if it was a plant, but now there's a fingerprint of the man as well.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Exactly, 'cause ISIS makes recruits turn over passports when they arrive, which is why there was some suspicion about the authenticity of the passport. But now the fingerprints do prove that he's Ahmad al Muhammad, a 25-year-old born in Idlib, Syria.

INSKEEP: And what is the significance that somebody got all the way from Syria to this Paris bombing?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, one of the working theories of the investigation is that this man was actually sent by ISIS to help sort of manage the attack. He was registered as a migrant coming through Greece early last month. You know, ISIS has taken responsibility for the attacks but there are a number, now, of independent threads of information that are pointing to that group, and sources close to the investigation told me that there were communications that were picked up between some of the attackers and ISIS before the attack.

INSKEEP: OK, Dina, thanks very much.

TEMPLE-RASTON: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: We'll continue checking with you throughout the morning, and we'll continue checking in with this story and be with David Greene in Paris throughout this morning. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Dina Temple-Raston is a correspondent on NPR's Investigations team focusing on breaking news stories and national security, technology and social justice.