The brother of one of the Paris terrorist attackers may have ditched his explosive belt and abandoned his mission.
Paris police have confirmed a belt found by a street cleaner in a dustbin in the southern Paris suburb of Montrouge contained bolts and explosive known as TATP.
The same set-up was used in seven explosive attacks on November 13 across Paris, which saw more than 130 people killed and 368 wounded.
The belt is thought to have belonged to Belgian-born French national Salah Abdeslam, the brother of Brahim Abdeslam, who blew himself up in a cafe near the Place de la Nation.
Salah Abdeslam is thought to have driven the three Stade de France bombers to the stadium in a Renault Clio.
Mobile phone records show he was in the 18th arrondissement on the night of the attacks before being picked up by two others in Montrouge and driven to Belgium.
The trio were stopped near the Belgian border the next day, and questioned, but allowed to move on.
Abdeslam has since reportedly been seen in Liege, Belgium and “heading along the E40 road in the direction of Germany”, but if he was in Brussels, he evaded police raids.
A French police source said the belt found in the dustbin had its detonator removed, leading to speculation Abdeslam may have got cold feet about blowing up himself – and others.
But one terrorism expert based in Belgium, Claude Moniquet, told the AFP he believed it was more likely the belt was defective.
It has also emerged that the gunmen who killed 89 people in the Bataclan concert hall may have wanted to escape with their lives.
The two who survived the initial rush by police were found hiding in a corridor with 20 hostages. Georges Salinas, deputy chief of the police Research and Intervention Brigade, told French Weekly L’Obs that the pair tried to persuade police to let them leave.
He said they “only had one idea in their heads at that moment, which was to get out of there”.
A BRI negotiator who spoke to the pair several times said they “were very worked up, very hyper and confused, as though they were under the influence of drugs”.
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