Police stopped suspected Paris bomber Salah Abdeslam three times just a few hours after last month’s attacks but let him go free each time, investigators have confirmed.
It was previously thought Mr Abdeslam was stopped just once by a traffic patrol, but police investigators have now pieced together his escaped from Paris.
MailOnline says Hamza Attou, a Belgian man who has since been charged with assisting in terrorist activity, said he was stopped “not once, but three times” as he drove Mr Abdeslam to Brussels.
He told detectives that the first time, police asked them if they had taken drugs. He and Mohamed Amri, another Belgian friend in the car, were both smoking cannabis in the front while Mr Abdeslam sat in the back.
“The police said it was not good, but it was not the priority today,” he added. The next two times, police asked the men for identity cards. The third time, Mr Abdeslam even gave his real address yet police still let them go.
The car was later found abandoned, and Mr Abdeslam had disappeared.
Detectives now believe he has absconded back to Syria to rejoin Islamic State, with other reports say he is in Morocco. He brother, Brahim, was one of the suicide bombers in the Paris attacks. Salah himself is believed to have worn a suicide vest but, for an unknown reason, decided not to detonate it. It was later found abandoned in a rubbish tip.
One account even says that Belgian police were tipped off that Mr Abdeslam was in Molenbeek but failed to arrest him as they are not allowed to raid premises between 9pm and 5am.
Investigators also discovered that the gunmen made numerous phone calls and sent texts to two numbers in Belgium the same night as the attacks. One message said: “We’ve left, we’re starting”. They have now concluded that the attacks were followed minute-by-minute by an unknown suspect in Belgium.