Paris attack mastermind ‘had photos of BRITISH targets on his phone’: Chilling pictures of Birmingham found on smartphone
- Birmingham boasts one of UK’s busiest shopping areas and sports venues
- It raises fears that Abdelhamid Abaaoud was planning an atrocity in Britain
- One picture may have been taken by Abaaoud, suggesting he was in the UK
- West Midlands Police taking links between ISIS and Birmingham ‘deadly seriously’
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.
A Mail on Sunday investigation has also discovered:
- The notorious jihadi, who had been linked to four foiled plots this year alone, was in regular contact with a ‘network of associates’ in the Midlands in the weeks before the Paris strikes, insiders believe;
- Another member of the Paris cell – now Europe’s most wanted man – is also believed to have visited Birmingham.
The news came as police warned the public to be alert to the risk of an outrage in England’s second city – home to one million people – but dismissed ‘unhelpful’ online rumours that an attack was planned for this weekend.
It was claimed last night that West Midlands Police are taking the links between the Islamic State-inspired extremists and Birmingham ‘deadly seriously’.
A source said the regular calls made by Abaaoud and the photographs found on his phone have led British police to the ‘frightening conclusion’ that he wanted to bring to the city the same carnage that he inflicted upon the French capital.
‘If you get these kinds of [phone-call] links, and if you get photos, it leaves you to a pretty inevitable conclusion…it does point to a certain direction, does it not?’ the source said.
Although it has not been disclosed what the photos showed, Birmingham boasts one of Britain’s busiest shopping areas, the National Exhibition Centre, and several big sporting venues, including Aston Villa’s Villa Park and Edgbaston cricket ground, where England play Test matches.
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