First Images of Salah Abdeslam, Most-Wanted Suspect in Paris Attacks, Are Released


The first images of the most wanted fugitive sought over the Paris terror attacks have emerged, depicting the suspect at a gas station in northern France the morning after the killings.

CNN affiliate BFMTV broadcast the images taken from surveillance footage, depicting Salah Abdeslam and two associates, Mohammed Amri and Hamza Attou, at a gas station in Trith-Saint-Léger, near the Belgian border, on November 14.

In the images, the 26-year-old, who is believed to have played a role in the terror attacks which killed 130 people the previous evening, appears relaxed, walking calmly with his hands in his pockets.

The Belgian-born French national remains the subject of a manhunt by European authorities for his suspected involvement in the coordinated shootings and suicide bomb attacks which rocked the French capital.

Investigators have revealed Abdeslam had purchased detonators at a fireworks shop before the assault and his fingerprints were found in a car connected with the attacks.

There has been speculation Abdeslam may have intended to launch a further attack in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, where he is thought to have parked the vehicle after dropping off suicide bombers at the Stade de France. A European counterterrorism official told CNN last month that investigators now believe he got cold feet and pulled out.

An ISIS claim of responsibility for the attacks released on November 14 referred to “eight brothers” when there were only seven attackers killed, and mentioned an attack in the 18th arrondissement when there was none.

Abdeslam is believed to have called Amri and Attou in the wake of the attacks to drive him to Belgium.

On that trip, authorities say, they passed through police checkpoints, but were not apprehended as Abdeslam had not yet been identified as a suspect.

Amri and Attou were arrested after returning to Brussels and have since been charged with “complicity in terrorist attacks and participation in the activities of terrorist organizations.” Their lawyers insist they had no knowledge of what Abdeslam was doing in Paris.

Abdeslam’s older brother, Brahim, was one of the suicide bombers in the November terror attacks. Abdeslam was a childhood friend of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged ringleader of the attacks, who was killed in a raid by French security forces in the wake of the killings.

A senior European counterterrorism official told CNN last month that the trail for Abdeslam had gone cold.

SOURCE: Tim Hume