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European security forces extend search for Paris attack suspects from Belgium to UK

The ongoing hunt for suspects tied to last month's terrorist attack in Paris has extended from Belgium to Britain. Police believe people there had ties to the ringleader of the Paris assault.

The international manhunt for suspects related to last month's terror attack in Paris has extended to Britain, where the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks had several contacts.

Security services have identified “several people in Britain suspected of having connections to Abdelhamid Abaaoud,” who is believed to have orchestrated

the Paris attack

, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Some of the suspects reportedly had Moroccan heritage and were based near Birmingham, Britain's second largest city.

Frankreich Cafe A La Bonne Biere Trauer nach den Anschlägen von Paris

Mourning at Cafe La Bonne Biere in Paris

The November 13 attacks in Paris killed 130 people and wounded at least 350 more in a series of attacks on a national football stadium, a concert hall, bars and restaurants across the French capital.

The UK Guardian newspaper reported that investigators have determined that at least one of the Paris terrorists visited London and Birmingham earlier in the year.

"In both cities he met with people suspected of having the intention and capability of plotting or assisting terrorist activity against the UK," The Guardian wrote.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said Britain's West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit was "working hand-in-hand with counter terrorism colleagues" in Britain to provide "support to the French and Belgian investigations and of course to address any associated terrorism threat to the UK."

Belgian enquiries

Belgian authorities were continuing their search for two "armed and dangerous" suspects on Saturday. The two men allegedly used false identification papers to help Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam travel to Hungary in September.

Abdeslam was stopped by police at the Hungarian-Austrian border on September 9. He was accompanied by two men carrying false IDs.

They identified themselves as Belgian nationals Soufiane Kayal and Samir Bouzid. Their real names, however, are not known.

Police have issued likenesses

of the two men.

The false ID card with Bouzid's name was used four days after the attacks in the French capital to transfer 750 euros ($810) to ringleader Abaaoud's cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen, using a Western Union office in Brussels.

Abaaoud and Aitboulahcen were both killed one day after the terror attacks during a police raid in northern Paris.

Kayal's fake ID was used to rent a house in Auvelias, in southern Belgium. Belgian media report that the hideout is where the assailants planned the Paris attack and may be where the terrorists made the bombs used during the assault.

In a statement, Belgian prosecutors “wish to appeal to the public again to look out for two new suspects the investigators are actively searching for.”

bk/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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