Paris attacks: Manhunt underway for as many as two suspects.

Manhunt Underway for as Many as Two Suspects Directly Involved in Paris Attacks

Manhunt Underway for as Many as Two Suspects Directly Involved in Paris Attacks

The Slatest
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Nov. 15 2015 11:15 AM

Manhunt Underway for as Many as Two Suspects Directly Involved in Paris Attacks

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A French soldier stands guard at Eiffel Tower on November 15, 2015 in Paris, France.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

UPDATE: French law enforcement released a photo of a suspect wanted for his involvement in the Paris attacks. Although police are asking for help in finding the fugitive, identified as Brussels-born 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, they also warned he should be considered dangerous and members of the public should not “intervene.” Abdeslam is suspected of renting the car that the Paris attackers used to go to the Bataclan music venue, where at least 89 people were killed. He is thought to be one of three French brothers involved in the attack, one of whom was arrested in Belgium and another was killed inside Bataclan.

UPDATE at 11:15 a.m.: Two French officials tell the Washington Post the manhunt is for as many as two suspects who were “directly” involved in the attacks on Friday night. It still isn’t clear whether the people they’re searching could be among the seven who have been arrested in Belgium since Saturday.

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At least three people involved in the attacks were brothers and one may be at large, Agence France-Presse hears from a security source. The Washington Post identifies two brothers—Ibrahim and Salah Abdeslam—both of whom were French nationals who spent years living in Belgium. While one was a suicide bomber, the other one is thought to have helped out with the logistics of the attack.

At least three of the seven attackers who died during the terror rampage were French citizens, according to the Associated Press.

Original post at 9:15 a.m.: French police found Kalashnikov rifles in a black Seat car near Paris on Sunday that was believed to have been used by some of the attackers. The black car was found in the suburb of Montreuil, around 4 miles east of the French capital which could suggest “some of the attackers got away,” notes the BBC.  

Police continue hunting for one man believed to have been involved in the attacks, reports BFM TV, according to the Guardian. The person in question rented a car that was seen outside concert hall but was not among the seven dead attackers or the men arrested in Belgium so far. This may help explain why authorities at first said there were eight attackers, and then later decreased that number to seven. In the statement claiming responsibility for the attack, ISIS had specifically mentioned eight attackers.

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French police began questioning relatives of the one suicide bomber whose identity has been publicly revealed, 29-year-old Omar Mostefai, who lived in Chartres, southwest of Paris. Mostefai, a Frenchman of Algerian descent, had a record of petty crime and had been known to authorities since 2010 due to his ties to Islamic radicalism. He seems to have spent a few months in Syria in 2013 and 2014, according to the Agence France-Presse, and was apparently identified from fingerprints taken from his severed finger that was found amid dead bodies at the Bataclan music venue.

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A flower is placed inside a bullet hole in the window of Le Carillon restaurant in tribute to the victims of the terror attacks on November 15, 2015 in Paris, France.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

So far, French police have detained seven of Mostefai’s family members, including his brother and father, and officials said they were still being questioned on Sunday. “It’s a crazy thing, it’s madness,” his brother told AFP, insisting he had cut ties with Mostefai years ago. "Yesterday I was in Paris and I saw how this shit went down." The last thing he knew about his brother was that he had travelled with his family and “little girl” to Algeria. The brother and two sisters turned themselves in to police after they learned about Mostefai’s involvement in the attack.

Police in Belgium, meanwhile, have made four more arrests in connection to the Paris attacks that left 129 people dead. That means seven people have so far been arrested in Belgium since the attacks. The operation, which was apparently carried out by three highly coordinated teams, appears to have been planned and financed from a small extremist cell around Brussels, reports the Los Angeles Times. French newspaper Le Monde says the attackers came from the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, which has long been seen as a hotbed for radical Islam. On Sunday, Belgian public broadcaster RTBF said two of the attackers were from Burssels.

As officials continue searching for clues, the streets of Paris appeared to have taken on an air of mourning as most tourist sites remained closed and flowers piled up at the places were terror struck on Friday night. Around 10,000 troops were deployed across France, reports BFM TV. There will be a special service for the victims at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday.

This post has been updated with new information since it was first published.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.