22 Jan 2016

Paris attacks: Woman in raid 'died of asphyxiation'

11:34 am on 22 January 2016

Prosecutors say a woman who died in a police raid after the Paris attacks died of asphyxiation, although her family argue she was murdered.

French army soldiers stand in position in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago.

Hasna Ait Boulahcen died during a police raid in Saint Denis. Photo: AFP

Hasna Ait Boulahcen, 26, died in a Saint-Denis flat alongside suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

Her family's lawyer Fabien N'Doumou said she may have been shot by police.

But the Paris prosecutor's office has told the BBC an autopsy shows she died from asphyxiation after an explosion caused by a suicide vest.

Reports in the days after the raid said Boulahcen had detonated the suicide vest.

But in early January, prosecutors said a third suspect who died in the raid, Belgian-Moroccan national Chakib Akrouh, was wearing the explosives.

Boulahcen's mother, sister and brother have lodged a murder complaint, against persons unknown. They are asking for her body to be returned for burial, and for the investigation to re-examine how she died.

The raid took place on 18 November, five days after the attacks in which 130 people were killed.

Reports in French media said Boulahcen, who was Abaaoud's cousin, was responsible for finding the flat in which he hid, and drove him there in the days after the attacks.

But Boulahcen, the daughter of Moroccan immigrants, "was under pressure by her cousin", the family's complaint says, according to French network iTele (in French).

The complaint, according to iTele, focuses on a recording made outside the flat during the raid, in which a woman's voice is heard shouting: "Can I leave? I want to leave."

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