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Belgium seeks two new suspects in Paris attacks

December 5, 2015

Belgian authorities announced they were searching for two "armed and dangerous" suspects. The two men had allegedly used false identification papers to help Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam travel to Hungary in September.

Belgium security
Image: Reuters/Y. Herman

Salah Abdeslam had been stopped by police at the Hungarian-Austrian border on September 9 while he was being accompanied by two men who carried false IDs.

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

Police also issued likenesses of the two men.

Samir Bouzid

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

Abaaoud and Aitboulahcen were both killed one day later during a police raid in northern Paris.

Soufiane Kayal

The fake ID under the name of Soufiane Kayal was used to rent a house in Auvelias in southern Belgium. According to Belgian media, the house was the hideout from which the assailants planned the Paris attacks and is possibly the location where the attackers made the bombs used during the November 13 attacks.

"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.

Ongoing manhunt

The latest suspects added to the international manhunt underway for the Paris attacks bring the number of individuals still being sought in relation to the attacks to four. A total of eight individuals have already been placed under arrest in Belgium in connection with the attacks.

UK in the spotlight

Meanwhile the AFP news agency cited the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as saying that several people suspected to have ties to Abdelhamid Abaaoud were based in the United Kingdom.

The newspaper said that several people linked to the assumed ringleader lived in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area in the nearby West Midlands. Birmingham, Britain's second-largest city, has been home to known Islamist extremists before, including Junaid Hussain, a high-ranking Islamic State operative.

At least one person connected to the attacks was thought to have traveled to Britain beforehand, according to the WSJ.

ss/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)