Fingerprints and other explosive tools of Paris shootings fugitive
Belts that could carry explosives and Salah Abdeslam’s fingerprint discovered during search of apartment in Belgian capital in December
Belgian prosecutors believe they have found the fingerprint of Paris attackssuspect Salah Abdeslam in an apartment in Brussels.
Police discovered traces of explosives, handmade suicide belts and the fingerprint of Abdeslam, who is still at large.
The search took place on 10 December in an apartment in the Schaerbeek district of Brussels, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Friday. Police found material that could be used to make explosives as well as traces of the highly volatile explosive TATP.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the apartment had been rented under a false identity that may have been used by one of the 10 people arrested in Belgium in connection with the 13 November attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
The Paris attacks on bars, a rock concert at the Bataclan concert hall and the national stadium are believed to have been in part planned and coordinated in Belgium.
Belgian police have arrested 10 people on terrorism charges in connection with the investigation. Nine are still in police custody, including several people suspected of having helped Abdeslam to go on the run.
Abdeslam, 26, is a Brussels-born French citizen of Moroccan descent, who once ran a bar in the Belgian capital. He is thought to have been involved in planning the attacks and is believed by police to have escorted the three suicide bombers who blew themselves up at the Stade de Francenational stadium.
He is also believed to have perhaps planned to carry out his own suicide attack in the 18th arrondissement of the French capital, and perhaps backed out. His brother blew himself up and died at a Paris bar on Boulevard Voltaire during the attacks.
Abdeslam has been on the run since he called friends to collect him from Paris and drive him to Brussels in the early hours after the attacks.
Abdeslam’s trace ran cold on Saturday 14 November at about 2pm in a street in Schaerbeek, where men in custody told Belgian police they had dropped him off.
Separately, Belgium’s federal prosecutor, Frédéric Van Leeuw, warned that the country faced the risk of a terrorist attack next Friday, 15 January, on the first anniversary of a foiled attack on the city of Verviers in 2015.
Two gunmen were killed in a shootout nearly a year ago after Belgian police launched a pre-emptive strike against terrorists in the advanced stages of planning attacks.
Speaking on Flemish-language channel VTM on Thursday night, the prosecutor warned that someone could attempt an attack on the anniversary.
“We are conscious of the symbolic value of 15 January for the terrorists, but we are ready,” Van Leeuw said.