French and Belgian police have issued an international arrest warrant for a possible eighth assailant involved in Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris in which 129 people were killed and 352 injured.
French police issued an alert for Salah Abdeslam, one of three French brothers who were living in Belgium.
One of the brothers, identified by French prosecutors as Ibrahim Abdeslam, blew himself up in a restaurant on the capital’s Boulevard Voltaire on Friday night. A second was arrested on Saturday by Belgian police.
Media reports on Sunday night said the other brother, 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, had been stopped by police in the early hours of Saturday morning near the Belgian border but was not detained.
He had his passport checked crossing the border from France into Belgium on Saturday, though the authorities were not aware of his possible involvement at that time.
Two of the brothers’ names were on the rental contract of cars hired in Belgium and used in the assaults, France’s deadliest terror attack.
Earlier, the authorities identified Omar Ismael Mostefai, a 29-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin, as one of three men who blew themselves up after killing 89 people at the Bataclan concert hall. He had been flagged by the authorities for links to Islamist radicalism.
As heads of the Group of 20 leading economies, meeting in Turkey, discussed the fight against the Isis Islamist militants, French authorities were questioning seven people, including Mostefai’s father and a brother.
President Barack Obama said on Sunday that the US would step up efforts to eliminate Isis and prevent it from carrying out attacks such as those in Paris, while European leaders urged Russia to focus its military efforts on the radical Islamists.
Speaking at the G20 summit in Antalya, Mr Obama described the killings in Paris as an attack on the civilised world, and said the US was working with France to find those behind the killings.
Many questions remained unanswered on Sunday. It was unclear whether a third group of gunmen in a black Seat car, responsible for shooting 39 people in bars and restaurants of the 10th and 11th districts, had been arrested or were still on the loose. The Seat, with three Kalashnikov assault rifles in it, was found in Montreuil, eastern Paris.
Mostefai and at least six other Islamist terrorists carried out the co-ordinated assaults across Paris, according to the Paris prosecutor François Molins. He said Mostefai was identified by prints on a finger found at the scene of the Bataclan attack.
Mostefai was flagged by the DGSI intelligence service as early as 2010 for being radicalised, but he had not been linked to any terrorist network.
A father, he was born in Courcouronnes, south-eastern Paris, and resided recently in Chartres, about an hour’s drive from the French capital. He had had eight brushes with the law for minor offences including driving without a licence. According to Le Monde newspaper, he went to Syria in the winter of 2013-14.
Mr Molins said on Saturday that seven terrorists died after six set off their explosives and another was shot by the police. Isis has claimed responsibility.
Manuel Valls, the prime minister, suggested on Saturday that the state of emergency declared by President François Hollande, which gives sweeping investigating powers to police, might be extended beyond the regulatory 12 days. This would require a vote in parliament.
France would extend its “action” in Syria in the coming days to “hit, annihilate Daesh” (the name French officials use to describe Isis), said Mr Valls. Mr Hollande, who described the attacks as an “act of war”, will address parliamentarians on Monday in Versailles.
A man who rented a black Polo car used by the three suicide bombers who targeted the Bataclan concert hall was identified as a French individual living in Belgium. He entered Belgium the morning after the attacks with two other people, according to Mr Molins. Later on Saturday, the Belgian authorities arrested five people in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, among them a Frenchman.
Isis referred to eight suicide bombers in its statement claiming responsibility, while Mr Molins mentioned only seven.
Nikos Toskas, the Greek citizen protection minister, said that a Syrian passport found near one of the three suicide attackers who struck near the Stade de France — where a friendly France-German football match was taking place — belonged to a refugee who had arrived on a Greek island by boat from Turkey.
However, French authorities did not confirm the information nor establish that the passport belonged to the attacker.
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