Paris Fugitive May Have Had Cold Feet

Police believe abandoned suicide belt belonged to Salah Abdeslam
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2015 9:33 AM CST
Paris Fugitive May Have Had Cold Feet
This undated file photo shows 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, who's wanted by police in connection with the recent terror attacks in Paris.   (Belgian Federal Police via AP)

Authorities say Salah Abdeslam should have been the eighth suicide attacker in Paris on Nov. 13, but he either got cold feet or his suicide belt failed. Police say the explosive belt found without a detonator in the suburb of Montrouge may have been discarded by Abdeslam before he escaped France. The belt, discovered in a trash pile by a street sweeper, was not only similar to those used in the Paris attacks—it also contained bolts and the same type of explosives, per the AP—but it was found near where police traced a signal from Abdeslam's phone on the night of the massacre, reports the Wall Street Journal. The theory is supported by the Islamic State's initial claim that eight terrorists carried out the attacks.

ISIS also claimed that the attacks were executed in Paris' 10th, 11th, and 18th districts. However, there was no attack in the 18th district, where the unused belt was found, report Fox News and the Daily Star, which also mentions reports that ISIS would kill Abdeslam for abandoning his mission. Abdeslam was last seen crossing the border into Belgium on the morning after the attacks. He was traveling with two companions who have since been arrested. Prosecutors say 15 of 21 people detained in raids in Belgium since Sunday have now been released. Brussels is still under lockdown as it remains at its highest alert level, but officials say schools and subway lines should reopen on Wednesday. (Abdeslam's brother has a message for him.)

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