On Nov. 15, [Aitboulahcen] and a friend drove out to a remote spot along the freeway, where Mr. Abaaoud came out of the bushes and joined them, the report said, quoting the account of the friend.
According to the friend’s account to the police, Mr. Abaaoud regaled them with stories about how he had made it to Europe by inserting himself in the stream of migrants fleeing across the Mediterranean. He explained that he was among 90 terrorists who had made it back and who had gone to ground in the French countryside, the friend told the police.
“Abaaoud clearly presented himself as the commander of these 90 kamikazes-in-waiting, and that he had come directly to France in order to avoid the failures they had experienced in the past,” the police said the friend had told them.
The Times reported on the seeming ease with which the attackers in Paris were able to move between Belgium and France, and even between the Middle East and Europe. The newspaper attributed some of this to what the Times described as “the inability or unwillingness of countries to share intelligence about potential terrorists, for legal, practical, and territorial reasons.”
“We don’t share information,” Alain Chouet, a former head of French intelligence, told the Times. “We even didn’t agree on the translations of people’s names that are in Arabic or Cyrillic, so if someone comes into Europe through Estonia or Denmark, maybe that’s not how we register them in France or Spain.”