French prosecutors announced Thursday that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, was killed in a police raid on Wednesday. Abaaoud is the suspected ringleader of the terrorist attacks that killed 129 people last Friday in Paris. The scumbag was found hiding out in an apartment north of Paris after officials pinpointed his location using wiretapped phone calls and surveillance techniques. Eight others were arrested in the raid, and Abaaoud’s cousin was killed when she blew herself up.
All in all, not a bad day.
Officials do not just suspect that Abaaoud was the mastermind of the Paris attacks. They also believe he is at least partially responsible for planning four other attacks, including the murderous train plot in August that saw three Americans become heroes in an instant. Abaaoud has not bothered to keep a low profile; he has been named as a person of interest time and time again, and he is not shy of the camera. In fact, Abaaoud appeared to take special pride in his ability to openly taunt law enforcement officials.
In January, he told the official ISIS magazine of his escape from a similar raid in Belgium. “Allah blinded their vision and I was able to leave,” he said. “Despite being chased after by so many intelligence agencies.”
Apparently, Allah didn’t bother this time.
French officials say the hunt is still on for at least two other individuals they believe had a hand in planning or otherwise participating in Friday’s attacks. One of them has been identified as a man named Salah Abdeslam.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget that this isn’t just about bringing individual perpetrators to justice – eternal or otherwise. If venomous snakes were all around you, would you settle for killing just the one that bit you? No, because you would be a fool. Or, you have decided that it is better to die by snakebite than it is to kill snakes.
So is that what we’ve decided? That it’s better not to kill snakes? That we should only harm the snakes that harm us, even if the rest of the snakes have promised to harm us as well? Can we not just take their word for it, considering that all of their actions thus far have been in alignment with their words?
We’re making a big mistake if we regard these events as isolated crimes. The job isn’t done when all of the direct accomplices are dead or imprisoned. The job is done when the ideology – and anyone who pledges allegiance to that ideology – is wiped off the planet.
Killing the snake that bit you? A good first step. A great first step.
Now let’s go kill the rest.