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Turkey Says It Warned France Twice About Paris Attacker

The country says it told France to look out for the 29-year-old in December 2014 and June 2015.

11/16/2015 07:25 am ET | Updated Nov 16, 2015
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Turkish authorities had warned France twice about the threat posed by one of the Paris terrorist attackers, a Turkish official said Monday.

Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, a 29-year-old French citizen, was identified Sunday as one of the attackers at the Bataclan concert hall, where at least 89 were killed on Friday. A senior Turkish official told The Huffington Post that the country turned up Mostefaï's name when investigating four other terror suspects in 2014.

"During the official investigation, the Turkish authorities identified a fifth individual, Omar Ismail Mostefai, and notified their French counterparts twice -- in December 2014 and June 2015," the official said. 

Turkey shared information on Mostefaï with France, but didn't hear anything back -- until after Friday's events.

The Islamic State has taken credit for the attacks, which rocked the city and left at least 129 people dead. France is still in a state of emergency, and police raids for potential suspects on Sunday night netted 23 people.

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"During the official investigation, Turkish authorities identified a fifth individual, Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, and notified their French counterparts twice," said the official.

"We have, however, not heard back from France on the matter. It was only after the Paris attacks that the Turkish authorities received an information request about Ismaël Omar Mostefaï from France," he added.

It's claimed that Turkish officials knew he'd entered Turkey in 2013 and that there was "no record of him leaving the country."

This, it's suggested, means he may have illegally crossed the border for Syria. It's not known how he re-entered France.

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The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reportedly said that he wasn't looking to embarrass France with the revelations.

"This is not a time to play the blame game, but we are compelled to share the above information to shed light on Omar Ismail Mostefai's travel history," he said.

"The case of Omar Ismail Mostefai clearly establishes that intelligence sharing and effective communication are crucial to counter-terrorism efforts. The Turkish government expects closer cooperation from its allies in the future," he added.

Mostefaï had been described by multiple media outlets in France as a petty criminal, of North African descent, who grew up in the Parisian suburb of Courcouronnes.

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