PARIS - Charaffe al Mouadan, one of 10 Islamic State leaders killed by US-led air strikes in the past month, was close to Paris attacker Samy Amimour and paved the way for him to leave France for Syria, the mayor of the French city where both grew up said.
An air strike in Syria on Dec. 24 killed al Mouadan, US Army Colonel Steve Warren said, adding that he was directly associated with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris shootings and bombings that killed 130 people.
Jean-Christophe Lagarde, the mayor of Drancy, a northeastern suburb of Paris, said al Mouadan was also connected to Amimour, a 28-year-old former bus driver who blew himself up in Paris's Bataclan concert hall.
"They were arrested in 2012 when they planned to leave for Yemen and were placed under judicial supervision," Lagarde told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding that a third man was part of their group.
"He (al Mouadan) was the first to leave for Syria, in June or July 2013. The other two left about two months later. He paved the way. What I don't understand is that (al Mouadan) missed police check-ins for two months and no one reacted, no one went after the other two."
Lagarde said he did not personally know al Mouadan but that he knew Amimour's family.
"What Amimour's family told me is that he (al Mouadan) seemed to be the leader of their group of three people," he said, and the family had said al Mouadan rose in Islamic State ranks more than the other two.