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TERRORISM

Did hunted Paris gunman chicken out of suicide?

French police admitted on Friday they are no closer to finding Salah Abdeslam, the man wanted in connection with the Paris terrace shootings, as speculation mounts that he may have decided against blowing himself up and is now on the run from both Isis as well as police.

Did hunted Paris gunman chicken out of suicide?
Wanted suspected terrorist Salah Abdeslam. Photo: Police nationale

With the presumed commander of the Paris terror attacks has been confirmed dead, focus has switched to finding Salah Abdeslam, one of the men believed to have been behind the terrace shootings.

French police admitted on Friday they are no closer to tracking down Abdeslam, who witnesses claim to have seen in the Belgium city of Anderlecht on Thursday night.

Salah’s brother Brahim who's also believed to have been behind the terrace shootings, blew himself up at the Comptoir Voltaire on Friday night but the subsequent actions of the missing Salah has lead investigators to believe that he may have decided to flee rather than blow himself up.

Salah Abdeslam reportedly wandered the streets of Paris for several hours on Friday after the attacks as he waited for an acquaintance to drive from Brussels to pick him up.

An alleged friend of his told Belgian website Sud.Info that Abdeslam was in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek as recently as Tuesday night and that he regretted what he did.

“I met him on Tuesday night. He was in Molenbeek but not for long,” the friend said, who added that he was asked by Salah to give a message to his brother.

“He told me he had gone too far. It went beyond what it was meant to be. But he could not turn himself in. This could have consequences for his family,” implying that he feared members of Isis would take revenge.

Speculation persists that Salah Abdeslam either panicked or decided at the last minute not to kill himself. Its also possible that his suicide belt may have malfunctioned, if indeed he was wearing one.

Either way the Europe-wide hunt to find him goes on.

France’s national police Jean-Marc Falcone, speaking on France-Info radio, said police were still working with their Belgian colleagues to find him.

“We can’t say anything about the exact geographic situation of that individual,” he said.

“We will continue to carry out raids if the investigation uncovers individuals who took part in any way in the preparation for these attacks, or individuals who could eventually carry out these attacks in the coming days or weeks.

“France is currently not safe from other teams committing similar acts to those seen in Paris last Friday,” said Falcone.

CRIME

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.

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