BRUSSELS: Belgium on Friday said it was searching for two new “armed and dangerous” men who used false ID papers to help wanted Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam travel to Hungary in September. The fake identity card of one of the suspects was also used to wire money from Brussels to Paris and the cousin of attacks ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud four days after the massacre in the French capital, the Belgian prosecutor’s office said. Both men are unidentified but carried the identities of Belgian nationals Soufiane Kayal and Samir Bouzid.
“The Federal Prosecutor’s Office and the investigating judge wish to appeal to the public again to look out for two new suspects the investigators are actively searching for,” the prosecutors said in a statement. According to the statement, Abdeslam was stopped by police at the Hungary-Austria border on September 9 accompanied by two men who carried false ID papers identifying themselves as Kayal and Bouzid.
The ID of Samar Bouzid was also used to rent a house in the town of Auvelias in southern Belgium that Belgian media reports say was used a hideout to plan the Paris attacks. Meanwhile, Bouzid’s false identity card was used four days after the Paris attacks to transfer 750 euros ($800) to Abaaoud’s cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen from a Western Union office in Brussels, the statement said. Abaaoud and Aitboulahcen were both killed the next day in a police raid north of Paris, along with a still unidentified third person.
‘Armed and Dangerous’
Belgian police issued the ID card photos of the two new suspects along with apparent security camera pictures of them at an unidentified location. “These men are armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees those men, is asked not to undertake any initiative and to contact immediately the police,” it said in its wanted notice.
Last month Belgium issued an international arrest warrant for Mohamed Abrini, 30, who was filmed along with Salah Abdeslam at a petrol station in Ressons, France on the motorway to Paris, in a Renault Clio which was later used in the attacks. Since Belgium opened its investigation last month it has charged eight people and been through a major terror alert that put Brussels on lockdown amid fears of a new Paris-style attack.
Two suspects were charged on Thursday in relation to the Paris attacks, including a Frenchman reportedly held at Brussels airport as he tried to board a flight to Morocco. Among the others charged are Mohammed Amri and Hamza Attou who are suspected of having brought Salah Abdeslam back to Brussels. Another of those charged, Ali Oulkadi, allegedly drove the key suspect around the Belgian capital while traces of blood and two handguns were found inside a vehicle of a fourth suspect, Lazez Abraimi.
Belgian media have identified the seventh suspect as Abdeilah Chouaa, whose link with the attacks remains unknown, and the eighth as Mohamed Bakkali, who is believed to be the owner of the home Auvelais that was raided. Also Friday, US media reported that several people suspected of having ties to ringleader Abaaoud were based in Britain. The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed Western officials saying several people with connections to the attacks’ suspected planner live in the Birmingham area in England’s West Midlands region. At least one person connected to the attacks was thought to have traveled to Britain beforehand, the Journal reported. – AFP