Fugitive in Paris attacks may have used Brussels apartment as bomb factory

BRUSSELS - A Brussels apartment was likely used to make bombs for the Paris attacks, and one of the plotters also hid out there after escaping a police dragnet, Belgian prosecutors said Friday.

See Full Article

The prosecutors said they found Salah Abdeslam's fingerprint in a search of the apartment on Dec. 10, but wouldn't say why they waited a month to announce it.

The search also turned up three suspected suicide belts, traces of the same explosive used in the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people and other material that could be used to manufacture bombs, according to the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office.

Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said the third-floor apartment was likely used as a hideout after Abdeslam fled the attacks. Abdeslam, who is still at large, called for two friends to pick him up amid the bloodshed and chaos that night that left 130 people dead and hundreds injured.

"We found material to make explosives, we found traces of explosives and we found three belts. So you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to make the right deduction," Van der Sypt told The Associated Press.

Abdeslam is believed to have played a key logistical role in the Paris attacks. A French gendarme stopped him and his two friends in their car near the border but released them. The friends are among 10 people arrested in Belgium in connection with the attacks.

Authorities now believe Abdeslam returned to the apartment, was eventually picked up by someone else "and we lost trace," Van der Sypt said.

The apartment in the Schaerbeek neighbourhood of Brussels had been rented under a false identity that may have been used by one of those who are now under arrest.

The prosecutor's office said the three handmade belts discovered in the search at Rue Berge in Schaerbeek "could have been intended for the transport of explosives." Traces of the highly volatile TATP, which was packed into the suicide vests in November, as well as other material that could be used to manufacture explosives were also detected.

The Nov. 13 attacks marked the height of a violent year for France that began with a Jan. 7 assault on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper.

Paris was again jolted Thursday when a man wearing a fake explosives vest and wielding a butcher's knife ran up to a police station and was shot to death by officers standing guard.

The Paris prosecutor, Francois Molins, said investigators are unsure of the man's true identity.

Molins told France-Inter radio Friday that the assailant carried a paper marked with the Muslim declaration of faith, an emblem of the Islamic State group and his name, and gave his nationality as Tunisian. Molins said he also had a phone with a German SIM card.

Stopped for a minor theft in 2013 in France's south, the man had identified himself as Ali Sallah and gave his nationality as Moroccan.

Islamic State extremists have claimed responsibility for the January 2015 attacks and the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.

-----

Associated Press writer Lori Hinnant contributed from Paris.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump's new message guru wants 'a more positive mojo'

    World News CTV News
    Anthony Scaramucci at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 17, 2017. (Michel Euler / AP) Source
  • Jordanian killed, Israeli wounded at Israeli embassy

    World News CTV News
    AMMAN, Jordan -- A Jordanian man was shot to death and an Israeli man was wounded in a violent incident at the Israeli embassy in Amman on Sunday evening, a security official and a news site linked to Jordan's military reported. Source
  • That stinks! Man seeking dropped phone falls in trash chute

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A man looking for a dropped cellphone ended up in a stinky situation, tumbling into a building's trash chute where he had to be rescued. Washington, D.C., Fire Spokesman Vito Maggiolo says the man was throwing out trash at an apartment building when he thought he dropped the cellphone in the chute. Source
  • Funeral to be held Monday for Toronto boy who drowned on school trip

    Canada News CTV News
    A funeral for the 15-year-old Toronto boy who drowned on a school trip is being held Monday, though his family is still in disbelief over the death. Jeremiah Perry, a student at C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate, drowned in a remote lake on a school canoe and camping trip to Algonquin Park on the night of July 4. Source
  • 8 people found dead in truck outside Walmart store in Texas [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    SAN ANTONIO - Eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in Texas’ stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case. Source
  • Thunderstorms, strong winds expected in B.C. as crews continue battling wildfires

    Canada News CBC News
    B.C. fire officials are bracing for increased wildfire activity Sunday as thunderstorms and strong winds are forecast for many parts of the province. Environment Canada said strong winds between 30 and 70 kilometres per hour are expected in the Cariboo and Interior regions, with thunderstorms expected in the Kootenays in the late afternoon. Source
  • Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's tenure comes to an end

    World News CBC News
    Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak — a high-profile figure in the controversy over alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election — has concluded his assignment in Washington. The Russian Embassy in Washington announced on Twitter that Kislyak's tenure ended on Saturday. Source
  • 'An angel': Burnaby pays tribute to slain girl found in park

    Canada News CTV News
    Family, friends and others from the community of Burnaby, B.C., were on hand Saturday night to pay tribute to Marrisa Shen, the 13-year-old who was found dead in a city park. There were plenty of tears and questions at a candlelight vigil for the slain girl, as investigators are still struggling to piece together the final 12 hours before her body was found. Source
  • Citizenship study guide getting revamp as taxes, census, treaties described as obligations

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA - Respecting treaties with Indigenous Peoples, paying taxes and filling out the census are listed as mandatory obligations of Canadian citizenship in a draft version of a new study guide for the citizenship exam. The working copy obtained by The Canadian Press suggests the federal government has completely overhauled the book used by prospective Canadians to prepare for the test. Source
  • Israel installs cameras at holy site amid flaring tensions

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israel set up new security cameras Sunday at the entrance to a sensitive Jerusalem holy site as officials consider alternatives to recently installed metal detectors that set off a weekend of violence and prompted the Palestinian president to declare a severing of ties. Source