Hunt in Belgium for two 'dangerous' men linked to Paris terror

The two armed men are unidentified but carried the ID papers of Belgian nationals Soufiane Kayal and Samir Bouzid.
The two armed men are unidentified but carried the ID papers of Belgian nationals Soufiane Kayal and Samir Bouzid.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

BRUSSELS • Belgium is searching for two new "armed and dangerous" men who used false ID papers to help wanted Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam travel to Hungary in September.

The fake identity card of one of the suspects was also used to wire money from Brussels to Paris and the cousin of attack ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud four days after the massacre in the French capital, the Belgian prosecutor's office said on Friday.

Both are unidentified but carried the identities of Belgian nationals Soufiane Kayal and Samir Bouzid.

"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.

According to the statement, Abdeslam was stopped by police at the Hungary-Austria border on Sept 9 accompanied by two men who carried false ID papers identifying themselves as Kayal and Bouzid. The ID of Samir Bouzid was also used to rent a house in the town of Auvelias in southern Belgium that Belgian media reports say was used a hideout to plan the Paris attacks.

Meanwhile, Bouzid's false identity card was used four days after the Paris attacks to transfer €750 (S$1,140) to Abaaoud's cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen from a Western Union office in Brussels, the statement said.

Abaaoud and Aitboulahcen were both killed the next day in a police raid north of Paris, along with a still unidentified third person. Belgian police issued the ID card photos of the two new suspects along with apparent security camera pictures of them at an unidentified location.

"These men are armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees those men, is asked not to undertake any initiative but to contact the police immediately ," it said in its wanted notice.

Last month Belgium issued an international arrest warrant for Mohamed Abrini, 30, who was filmed along with Salah Abdeslam at a petrol station in Ressons, France on the motorway to Paris, in a Renault Clio which was later used in the attacks. Since Belgium opened its investigation last month, it has charged eight people and been through a major terror alert that put Brussels on lockdown amid fears of a new Paris-style attack.

Also on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that several people suspected of having ties to ringleader Abaaoud were based in the Birmingham area in England's West Midlands region. British counter-terrorism officials confirmed that Abaaoud, 28, visited London and Birmingham earlier this year and met several people suspected of having the intention and capability of plotting or assisting terrorist activity against Britain.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 06, 2015, with the headline 'Hunt in Belgium for two 'dangerous' men linked to Paris terror'. Print Edition | Subscribe