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FRANCE-BELGIUM

French, Belgian authorities pursue new leads in Paris attacks

A French police officer patrols Paris's Trocadéro area on 22 November, 2015
A French police officer patrols Paris's Trocadéro area on 22 November, 2015 Reuters/Eric Gaillard

French police are examining a suspected suicide belt, 11 days after the terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in the capital. A street cleaner found the object in the southern Parisian suburb of Montrouge.

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The explosive vest contains the same materials as those used in the Paris attacks, and was found in a dustbin. According to police, the device lacked a detonator.

Souces say telephone data places Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam in the same area on the night of the 13 November terrorist attacks.

Abdelsam is a key suspect in the attacks and is believed to be still on the run.

In related news:

  • Jawad Bendaoud, the man arrested during last week's police assault on the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, is due to appear before a French judge. Bendaoud is accused of having provided lodging to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the 13 November attacks in Paris, and another unidentified assailant. Bendaoud later told AFP he loaned his apartment to two people from Belgium as a favour to a friend, without having been aware of their plans.
  • According to French daily newspaper Le Parisien, video surveillance that filmed Abdelhamid Abaaoud in a Paris metro just after the attacks suggests Abaaoud was not alone. The paper cites an unnamed French official who says the footage shows an unidentified man who boarded and exited the same underground train, at a discreet distance.
  • Prosecutors in Belgium announced a fourth person has been with terrorist offences linked to the Paris attacks. Raids began on Sunday as part of an unprecedented manhunt for Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, who is still at large. Among the suspects 15 have been released.
  • Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the terror alert in Brussels will stay at the highest level due to the “imminent” threat of attack and that the metro and schools will remain closed until Wednesday.
  • France said on Tuesday it would install security gates at the Paris and Lille stations of the high-speed Thalys train, the target of a previous failed attack which police believe may be connected to the deadly Paris assaults.
  • As millions of Americans prepare to travel for the US Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, the US said citizens should be vigilant due to "increased terrorist threats".
  • Data released on Monday showed that new flight bookings to Paris, one of the world’s most visited cities, fell by over a quarter in the week after the 13 November attacks.

 

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