herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Police launch manhunt for brother of men linked to massacre

French police have launched a manhunt for a terror suspect who is believed to have been involved in the Paris attacks and is now on the run.

They have issued a wanted notice for Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old Frenchman born in the Belgian capital Brussels. They warned the public he was dangerous, saying “do not intervene yourself”.

He is one of three brothers believed to be involved in the killings in central Paris, and rented a black Volkswagen Polo used by the attackers  who targeted the Bataclan concert hall.

One of his brothers, Ibrahim Abdeslam, was reportedly among the seven suicide bombers in the series of co-ordinated attacks targeting six sites across the French capital on Friday night.

A third brother was apparently arrested in Belgium and questioned before being released.

Salah Abdeslam, who was born in Brussels, is described as being 1m 75cm (5ft 8in) tall and having brown eyes.

Police released a photo of him and warned the public he is dangerous.

Attackers

Another man, Bilal Hadfi, has been named as among the attackers and he also lived in Belgium, said the Washington Post.

Ismael Omar Mostefai, a 29-year-old man from Courcouronnes, a town 16 miles south of Paris in Essonne, has been officially identified as another assailant.

He was one of the terrorists inside the Bataclan theatre, where a rock concert was taking place, and had been flagged for links to Islamic radicalism. His father and brother have been arrested.

People who knew Mostefai were stupefied and confused that someone they recalled as shy and considerate could have been involved in France’s deadliest attacks in decades.

Ben Bammou, president of a local Muslim group, said Mostefai regularly attended mosque in the area and used to work as a baker.

He described the man as “timid” and said that the Muslim community of Chartres didn’t understand what happened.

“We’re grieving, like everyone else,” he said.

Neighbour Arnauld Froissart, a 34-year-old bank employee, said Mostefai and his family were “very nice” and that his mother offered cakes to neighbors during Ramadan.

“Everyone was shocked when we learned this last night and this morning,” he said. “I’ve lived in this neighbourhood since 1986 and there’s no problem here.”

Rampage

A total of 132 people were killed and 352 injured during the gun and bomb rampage carried out by three teams in identical explosives vests who targeted the hall, restaurants and bars and the national stadium.

Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the IS attack which was the worst terrorist outrage in Europe for more than a decade.

* Seven people were detained in Belgium in connection with the attacks.

* Two of the terrorists killed on Friday night were Frenchmen living in the Belgian capital Brussels.

* As many as three of the seven suicide bombers were French, as was at least one of the men arrested in Belgium.

* Three Kalashnikov assault rifles were discovered inside a Seat car used in the attacks which was found in the suburb of Montreuil, four miles east of Paris.

* Prosecutors believe three teams of terrorists carried out the co-ordinated attacks.

* At least one of the attackers is believed to have passed through Greece as a refugee.

Last night panic broke out among crowds in several Paris neighbourhoods, but police said they were false alarms.

Officials said a crowd gathered in the Place de la Republique apparently panicked after hearing firecrackers, and when officers arrived with weapons drawn, the crowd dispersed in fear.

The official called it a moment of collective panic, and said that security forces had no information of any threats to the area.

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