Turkey says notified France twice about Paris attacker - senior official

Participants in a Requiem Mass for the victims of the Paris attacks gather outside at St Mary's Cathedral adorned in blue, white and red, the colours of French flag, in Sydney, Australia, November 16, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Reed (Reuters)

By Orhan Coskun and Humeyra Pamuk BELEK, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkey notified France twice in December 2014 and June 2015 about one of the attackers in suicide bombings and shootings in Paris that killed more than 130 people, a senior Turkish government official said on Monday. Turkey only received an information request from France about Ismael Omar Mostefai after Friday's attacks, the Turkish official said. Mostefai entered Turkey in 2013 but there was no record of him leaving again, the official said. Mostefai, 29, from Chartres, southwest of Paris, is the only attacker to have formally been named by police in France. He was identified by the print from one of his fingers that was severed when his suicide vest exploded. Turkey received an information request from France on Oct. 10, 2014, regarding four terror suspects but during its investigation identified a fifth individual, Mostefai, the official said. It twice notified France of its findings but only heard back after Friday's attacks. The senior government official said Mostefai entered Turkey in 2013 but there was no record of him exiting. Under pressure from Western allies to ramp up its fight against Islamic State, Ankara opened up its air bases to the U.S.-led coalition in July and has tightened border controls to try to stop the flow of foreign jihadists. But it has complained about a lack of robust intelligence sharing between allies and urged the West to provide more information about potential suspects. "This is not a time to play the blame game, but we are compelled to share (this) information to shed light on (Mostefai's) travel history," the Turkish official said. "(His) case clearly establishes that intelligence sharing and effective communication are crucial to counter-terrorism efforts," the official said. (Editing by Nick Tattersall)

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