The suspected Islamic State mastermind of the Paris attacks was among those killed in a police raid north of the capital, France confirmed on Thursday, bringing an end to the hunt for Europe's most wanted man.
Authorities said they had identified the mangled corpse of Belgian national Abdelhamid Abaaoud from fingerprints in the aftermath of Wednesday's raid and gun battle in which at least two people died including a female suicide bomber.
"The spider in the web is no longer a danger," Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens said, calling it a "breakthrough".
The body had been found riddled with holes amid the wreckage in the aftermath of Wednesday's raid, Paris's prosecutor said in a statement. The prosecutor later added that it was unclear whether Abaaoud had detonated a suicide belt.
The Moroccan-born Belgian militant, 28, was accused of orchestrating last Friday's coordinated bombings and shootings in the French capital, which killed 129 people. Seven assailants died in the attack and a suspected eighth is still on the run.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls broke the news of Abaaoud's death to parliament on Thursday to applause from French lawmakers who were voting to extend a state of emergency for three months.
"We know today ... that the mastermind of the attacks - or one of them, let's remain cautious - was among those dead," Valls told reporters.