Europe

Paris attacks hideouts found in Belgium

  • 13 January 2016
  • From the section Europe
Composite image showing Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Stade de France bomber Bilal Hadfi (R) Image copyright AFP
Image caption Fingerprints of Abaaoud and Hadfi (R) were found at the Charleroi flat, thought to have been used hours before the Paris attacks

Three properties used by men involved in the 13 November attacks in Paris have now been identified, Belgian prosecutors say.

Investigators discovered fingerprints of suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Stade de France bomber Bilal Hadfi at a flat in Charleroi.

A house was searched in a nearby town and bomb belts were found at a flat in Schaerbeek in Brussels.

The flat in Charleroi is being seen as a key part of the investigation.

Co-ordinated suicide bomb and gun attacks by so-called Islamic State (IS) jihadists left 130 people dead at the Bataclan concert hall, restaurants and the Stade de France in Paris.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A flat on the Rue du Fort is now being seen as a key hideout for the Paris gunmen in the hours before the attacks

Several of the attackers had travelled from Belgium and investigators are now looking at a flat at Rue du Fort in Charleroi as their meeting point the day before the attacks were carried out.

Both Abaaoud and Hadfi were there and it is thought gunman Brahim Abdeslam and his brother Salah Abdeslam went there too, along with another suspected attacker, Mohamed Abrini.

No trace of explosives was found but police did discover several mattresses. The flat was rented for a year in early September 2015 and paid for in cash.

A Seat Leon car used in the Paris attacks was spotted close to the Charleroi flat as well as near the house in Auvelais.


Who was Abdelhamid Abaaoud?

Who were the Paris attackers?

Paris attacks: The investigation so far

Paris attacks: Who were the victims?

Paris attacks: What happened on the night


Belgian officials had already revealed they found a fingerprint in Schaerbeek belonging to Salah Abdeslam, who survived the attacks and went on the run. Traces of TATP explosive (acetone peroxide) were detected, suggesting the flat may have been used as a bomb factory. Again the flat was rented in early September.

They have now revealed that DNA traces of Bilal Hadfi were also found there.

The authorities say the house in Auvelais was also used as a hideout for two other men, thought to have travelled among refugees to get to Belgium. Several mattresses were found there too.

Officials say they were carrying false identities and were picked up in Budapest by Salah Abdeslam in September 2013. One of the men, using the false name of Kayal Soufiane, rented the Auvelais house on 5 October.

Media captionGavin Lee reports from the petrol station where Abdeslam was spotted

CCTV pictures emerged this week showing Salah Abdeslam at a petrol station close to the Belgian border in northern France, hours after he took part in the Paris attacks. He is seen with Hamza Attou, one of two men who are said to have driven him back to Belgium.

He evaded police and is now thought to be in Syria.

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