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New images show Paris attack suspect on the run
Wanted man Salah Abdeslam and his friend Hamza Attou. Photo: BFM TV Screengrab

New images show Paris attack suspect on the run

The Local · 11 Jan 2016, 09:58

Published: 11 Jan 2016 09:58 GMT+01:00

The images were released on Monday by French channel BFM TV, and show Salah Abdeslam and his friend Hamza Attou looking decidedly at ease as they stop at the service station. 
 
The images were captured at around 9.45am on November 14th, the day after the terror attacks in Paris in which 130 people were killed in a series of indiscriminate shootings across the city.
 
The wanted man is seen strolling calmly with his hands in his pockets alongside his friend Attou, who was later arrested and charged for helping Abdeslam flee. 
 
Their apparent relaxed demeanor could be explained by the fact that at this point on November 14th Abdeslam had not yet been publicly identified by French police as having played a key role in the attacks and his photo had not yet been released to the public.
 
It could also be explained by the fact they had been smoking marijuana, as was revealed by the lawyer of Hamza Attou.
 
 
 
Abdeslam, 26, has been one of the most wanted men in Europe since the attacks. It has since emerged that he was able to return to Belgium despite being stopped by three separate police controls along the way.
 
After the pair slipped through the police checks, authorities bemoaned a lack of intelligence sharing between France and Belgium.
 
He is believed to have been played a key role in the logistics of the attacks, by hiring out the cars used to bring the terrorists from Belgium. Hotel rooms and an apartment in northern Paris were also rented out in his name on the days leading up to the attacks.
 
What Abdeslam did on the night of the attacks remains somewhat of a mystery.
 
He is believed to have dropped the bombers off at the Stade de France, before dumping his car in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. Mobile phone data then picked him up in the south of Paris, where a discarded suicide belt was found in a bin.
 
Story continues below…
One theory investigators are working on is that Abdelslam was supposed to carry out an attack in the 18th arrondissement but may have got cold feet and backed out at the last minute.
 
Belgian police reported last week that one of Abdeslam's fingerprints was found in a Brussels apartment along with three suicide vests.
 
Several people have since been charged with helping Abdeslam on his return to Brussels where he lived in the gritty Moelenbeek district, along with several others implicated in the attacks and Islamist groups.
 

The petrol station was in Trith-Saint-Léger, near the Belgian border. Picture: Google Maps
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