Foued Mohamed-Aggad, the Bataclan suicide bomber and Paris attacker identified by authorities recently, is believed to have been rejected by the French Army and also the police services before he joined the Islamic State (Isis). The radicalised French national failed to crack the police entrance exam by just a few marks, and was also turned down by the army failing physical and psychological tests.
"We have filters. We look at personality and do physical and psychological tests. The candidate has to be healthy and viable for the army. In this case we identified him as not suitable as a soldier and to bear arms. We decided not to go any further with him," Strasbourg's army's recruitment spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Sophie Caussel told Reuters. The French army, considered one of the best in the world, has a scrupulous process of selection and even after an overwhelming 160,000 applicants, which rose significantly post the Paris attacks, only 15,000 people are expected to be recruited.
A neighbour of Aggad from his small home town of Wissembourg in northeastern France confirmed that he had failed the police entrance test and was rather upset about it. "That's the only time I saw him disappointed. He was complaining. He reckoned it was because of his foreign origins," said Youssef who recalled the Bataclan bomber as intelligent and polite. Meanwhile, police recruitment authorities have neither confirmed nor denied any application by Aggad, but an official mentioned that there was secrecy involved when it came to information regarding the Paris attacks.
Aggad, 23, and two other IS (Daesh) militants, Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29, and Samy Amimour, 28, had stormed the Bataclan theatre in Paris on 13 November during a concert by American rock band Eagles Of Death Metal and opened fire on the audience. Within minutes two of them including Aggad detonated suicide vests as the third was shot before his vest could detonate. The Bataclan death toll at 89 was the highest in the Paris attacks.
French media have claimed that Aggad may have been radicalised by an extremist known as Mourad Fares, who was arrested in Turkey in 2014 after contact with a number of French citizens. Aggad, who is believed to have visited Syria in 2013 with a group of other radicals, was identified last week after his mother reported to the French police about a "martyr text message" sent possibly by Islamic jihadists that said "he died with his brothers".