From the Mail on Sunday
The mastermind behind the Paris terror attacks had photographs of UK targets on his mobile phone, it can be revealed today.
Investigators have discovered that Abdelhamid Abaaoud had pictures of places in Birmingham stored on his smartphone, according to well-placed sources, raising the chilling possibility that his cell was planning atrocities in Britain.
One source said the images may have been taken by Abaaoud himself, suggesting that he was able to enter the UK despite being the subject of an international manhunt even before the Paris attacks last month that left 130 people dead
It is understood that Abaaoud, 28, was in contact with Moroccans living in the Bordesley Green and Alum Rock areas of the city. Both districts have been at the centre of counter-terrorism investigations recently, with a number of arrests made of suspects who were either intending to go to IS strongholds in Syria, or who were coming back from them after gaining battlefield experience. Junaid Hussain, from the King’s Heath area of Birmingham, led IS’s ‘cyber-jihad’ against the West before he was killed in a US drone strike in Syria earlier this year.
Abaaoud, who comes from the Molenbeek area of Brussels, boasted in an IS magazine that he was able to move freely across Europe despite his notoriety
West Midlands Police last night refused to comment on the new developments. Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said in a statement: ‘The West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit is working hand-in-hand with colleagues in London, the national counter-terrorism network and security services to provide support to the French and Belgian investigations, and, of course, to address any associated terrorism threat to the UK.’
On Friday, West Midlands Police issued a statement to dispel claims circulating on the internet that Birmingham was going to be targeted in a terrorist attack.