Paris attacks investigation: Latest developments
Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud has been named as the mastermind of the Paris attacks
By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
(CNN) — A Renault with Belgian plates, syringes in a hotel room and a cell phone containing a chilling message were among the Tuesday focuses of the wide-ranging multinational investigation into last week’s terror attacks in Paris that killed 129 people.
— French President Francois Hollande says his country “is at war” after three teams of gun-wielding ISIS suicide bombers hit six busy locations. His military backed up the statement by pounding ISIS targets in Syria with airstrikes. Russia also launched airstrikes and cruise missiles there.
— Meanwhile, a glimmer of hope for Syria’s civil war, as America’s top diplomat says a ceasefire could be on the horizon.
Here’s the key information at this stage:
— NEW: Investigators in Paris have recovered a cell phone believed to belong to one of the attackers, which could yield insight into the plot and the suspected network behind it, counterterrorism and intelligence officials told CNN. The phone contained a message sent sometime before the attacks began to the effect of: OK, we’re ready, the officials said.
— NEW: Police asked for the public’s help identifying a suicide bomber from the Stade France.
Police issued a photo of him. Following the attack at the Stade de France, police found an emergency passport or similar document identifying him as a 25-year-old Syrian using the name Ahmad al Muhammad, which authorities believe is fake.
Analysis: Paris explosives are a key clue to plot
— There is a “strong presumption” that a second suspect linked to the Paris attacks is still at large, an official source close to the investigation told CNN. The other suspect is Salah Abdeslam.
— One of the voices heard in an ISIS video claiming responsibility for the Paris attacks is that of Fabien Clain, a French senior ISIS operative, according to a French security source. Clain, who was convicted in 2009 for his involvement in al Qaeda in Iraq recruitment effort, is suspected of having a link with a plot to attack churches in Paris in April and the thwarted attack on the high-speed Amsterdam-to-Paris train in August, European security officials told CNN.
— German police say they’ve now arrested five men and two women in Alsdorf, though Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said there does not appear to be a close connection between those arrested and the Paris attacks.
— Les Beguines, a A Brussels bar registered to one of the Paris attackers, Ibrahim Abdeslam, was closed for drug-related offenses eight days before the Paris attacks, according to Molenbeek, Belgium, Mayor Francoise Schepmans.
— A black Renault Clio with Belgian plates found in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, on the north side of the city, had been rented by Salah Abdeslam, the 26-year-old French citizen being sought in connection with the attacks, police sources said, according to French media outlets.
— German police say their arrest tally in connection with the Paris attacks is now five: Two women and a man were arrested in an initial operation in Alsdorf, while two others were apprehended during a second operation in the same town.
— Police searching two suburban Paris hotel rooms rented by Salah Abdeslam found syringes that may have been used to make the other attackers’ explosive vests, French media reported. The rooms contained pizza boxes, as well as tubes and other material that are being tested for explosives, according to the reports.
— Prior to the Paris terrorist attacks, France and its allies tried to target Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the prominent ISIS member believed to have planned the attack, a French source close to the investigation said. They were unable to locate him, the source told CNN. Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN he could not confirm the report.
— Officials have identified some of the suspects, while one remains on the loose and two remain unidentified. Abaaoud is believed by counterterrorism officials to be the likely link between the senior ISIS leadership and the militant group’s operatives in European countries, while Salah Abdeslam remains on the run. Officials have identified three of the suicide bombers as Frenchmen Samy Amimour, Ismael Omar Mostefai and Bilal Hadfi. The newspaper, Le Monde, reports that Salah’s older brother, Ibrahim, was one of the suicide bombers.
— Salah Abdeslam was the subject of a “routine check” on a motorway in northwest Austria on Sept. 9, said Karl Heinz Grundboeck, spokesman for Austria’s Interior Ministry. The routine check did not result in any further investigation.