Two senior intelligence officials revealed on Wednesday that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected Islamic State (ISIS) mastermind behind the lethal Paris attacks on Saturday, was killed in a raid in north Paris earlier in the day.
The officials made the revelation to Washington Post on condition of anonymity. The statements have yet to be officially confirmed.
Wednesday's raid in Saint Denis was based on intelligence information indicating that Abaaoud, who is thought to have planned the six attacks in Paris that left 129 murdered, was in an apartment in the Parisian suburb.
During the raid, a female terrorist, said by BFMTV to be a relative of Abaaoud, detonated her explosive belt in a suicide attack that took her life. Another suspect died by grenades and gunfire from the police.
French interior minister Pierre-Henry Brandet told the French TV station that DNA tests are being conducted to identify a suspected third terrorist killed in the blast, after body parts of the third suspect were found in the rubble of the building.
Those tests will officially confirm whether Abaaoud was killed in the raid.
Five members of the French counter-terror unit were also lightly wounded in the raid, and an "assault dog" was killed.
Aside from the dead terrorists, three suspects were arrested in the apartment and two others were found hiding in the rubble. Another two were also detained, including the owner of the apartment.