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Police offer new details from Paris attacks investigation

January 8, 2016

Authorities in Brussels have announced the results of a raid on an apartment thought to be the 'bomb factory' for the Paris attacks. They also found the fingerprint of a fugitive wanted in connection with the tragedy.

Belgien Terrorismus Polizei Razzia Durchsuchungen Brüssel
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/N.Maeterlinck

Belgian police revealed new details about the investigation into the Paris attacks on Friday and the hunt for the connected fugitive Salah Abdeslam. According to authorities, a Brussels apartment they searched in December contained not only suicide vests and fingerprints, but is believed to have served as bomb factory for the atrocities in Paris.

Police raided the third-floor apartment in the Belgian capital's Schaerbeek neighborhood on December 10. It had been rented under a false name, the same pseudonym likely used by a Paris suspect already in custody.

Confirming a report by a Belgian newspaper, investigators said they discovered material that could be used to make explosives, chemicals used in bomb making and handmade belts used for suicide missions. The find gives credence to the belief that a great portion of the planning for the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people took place in Belgium.

Authorities also discovered a fingerprint belonging to Salah Abdeslam, who is thought to have played an important logistical role in the attacks before calling two friends in Brussels the night of November 13 to come pick him up and then disappearing.

Their car was later stopped near the border by a French gendarme but was eventually let go. The two friends are among those arrested.

Assailant tries to storm Paris police station

The news comes on the heels of a fresh jolt for Paris, as a would-be attacker wearing a fake suicide vest and wielding a knife ran into a police station on Thursday. He was shot dead by officers before he could cause any harm.

While Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said they could still not determine the man's identity, he told France-Inter radio on Friday that the assailant had been carrying a piece of paper bearing the symbol of the "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group, a name, and a declaration of Tunisian nationality. However, the same man gave his nationality as Moroccan when stopped in the south of France in 2013.

He was also carrying a phone with a German SIM card, Molins said.

es/ng (AFP, AP, Reuters)