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    French fire brigade members aid an injured individual near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal shootings in Paris, France, November 13, 2015

    Turkey Claims It Warned France Twice About Paris Attacker

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    As more details emerge about the deadly attacks in Paris on Friday night, a senior Turkish official claims that Ankara warned French authorities about one of the attackers twice in the past year.

    As the investigation continues into the bloodbath that left 129 people dead, one of the attackers responsible for the attacks on the French capital has been identified as Omar Ismail Mostefai. According to one high-ranking official, speaking on condition of anonymity, Mostefai had been identified as a threat by Turkish intelligence over a year ago.

    The official claims that Mostefai, a native of Paris, entered Turkey in 2013, but that there was no record of the 29-year-old ever leaving. When French authorities requested information on four terror suspects in October of 2014, Ankara added Mostefai’s name to that list as a fifth suspect.

    "[Turkish authorities] notified their French counterparts twice – in December 2014 and June 2015 [about Mostefai]," the official said, according to Al Jazeera.

    "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 Omar Ismail Mostefai from Turkey."

    The comments come as Western intelligence agencies face intense scrutiny over how they failed to anticipate Friday night’s attacks. The Turkish official stressed the need for greater international cooperation to prevent future tragedies.

    "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…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."

    This sentiment was echoed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogen during a speech at the G20 Summit on Monday.

    "We are resolved to address this threat by enhancing our cooperation and developing relevant measures to prevent and tackle this phenomenon, including operational information-sharing, border management to detect travel, preventive measures and appropriate criminal justice response," he said, according to Al Jazeera.

    US officials have also said Washington intends to increase intelligence cooperation with Paris.

    "In the wake of the recent attack on France, we stand strong and firm with our oldest ally, which is why the US and France have decided to bolster our intelligence sharing," US Defense Department spokesperson Peter Cook said in a statement released on Monday.

    Mostefai was killed during the raid on the Bataclan concert hall, where gunman took hostages and killed dozens. Since the attacks, French authorities have conducted 168 raids across the country, arresting 23 suspected of being involved in the incident.

    Brussels has also conducted its own raids following reports that the "mastermind" of the attacks was a Belgian citizen identified as Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

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    Tags:
    Daesh, Paris attacks, intelligence community, intelligence cooperation, Peter Cook, Erdogen, Omar Ismail Mostefai, Paris, Turkey, France
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