The two suspected ISIS operatives are identified as Algerian-born Adel Haddadi and his Pakistani travel partner, Muhammad Usman.
A CNN team went through 90,000 pages of documents, most of them in French, that included interrogations, investigative findings and data pulled from cell phones offering insight into the external operations wing of ISIS known as the Amn al-Kharji.
The documents detail the capture of the two jihadists and shows how the ISIS network supported the attackers throughout their journey from Syria through Europe.
Haddadi and Usman, who was identified by investigators as a suspected bombmaker for the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, set out from the capital of the self-declared ISIS caliphate in Raqqa, Syria, six weeks before the Paris attacks.
The two men were part of a team, with the two others being
Ahmad al-Mohammad and Mohamad al-Mahmod, who would later blow themselves up outside Stade de France in Paris. The team crossed the border from Syria into Turkey in early October and headed for the Turkish coast.
According to investigators, the four men didn’t seem to know each other’s real names, or what their final mission would be. All Haddadi knew, he later told interrogators, that they were being sent to France to do “something for the good of God.”
The four men used fake Syrian passports and all their journey was operated from afar by a man called Abu Ahmad who handled all stages of their mission. He was also the man who trained them, investigators concluded.
Posing as Syrian refugees, the terrorists made the perilous journey
from Izmir, Turkey, into Greece in a boat filled with dozens of refugees. The boat was intercepted by the Greek Navy. The two who would go on to strike the Paris stadium passed through Greece and moved to Europe toward their target in France. Greek officials declined to explain how the two got through.
However, Greek authorities discovered Haddadi and Usman’s fake Syrian passports. The pair were arrested, their money was taken, and they were held for nearly a month.
Sources told CNN that investigators believe that delay was significant because Haddadi and Usman did not have a chance to participate in the Paris hits.
Greek authorities released the two men in late October. The jihadists received cash from Ahmad and continued along the refugee route. They finally crossed the border to Austria where they settled at a refugee center.
There, they waited several weeks for the arrival of a third man, Abid Tabaouni. Counter-terrorism authorities raided the refugee camp and Haddadi and Usman were arrested but Tabouni escaped. In July, after months on the run, Tabouni was arrested in Brussels.
According to the CNN report, investigators believe the three men, had they not been arrested, would have carried out an additional attack in France.