Hours after the terrorist attacks that claimed 129 lives in Paris Friday French authorities had one of the masterminds in their grasp and let him go.
A car that contained three men, one of whom being the man who is now at the center of a massive manhunt across Europe 26-year-old Saleh Abdelslam, was stopped by French police at the Belgian border early Saturday, the Associated Press reported.
The officials checked his identification and let him go even after tighter border security measures were announced by French President Francois Hollande.
“It was a simple check. There was no lookout notice at the time of the traffic stop,” a police official told the Associated Press.
The other two men in the vehicle were later arrested in Brussels but Abdelslam had again slipped by, according to AP.
The two other men who drove across the border with Abdelslam were arrested. Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon told the AP that suspects detained in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels had been stopped in the town of Cambrai, France, “in a regular roadside check” but that police had had no suspicion about them at the time and they were let go quickly.
Hours later, Belgian police, working on a request from the French, detained three men – including one of Abdelslam’s brothers – in Molenbeek, which authorities consider to be a focal point for Islamic extremists and fighters going to Syria from Belgium.
Abdelslam, a French resident of Belgium, was not among those arrested.
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