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Paris Attacks: Authorities Hunt for a French National

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PARIS, France — Authorities are hunting for a Belgium-born French national who’s one of three brothers suspected in the Paris terror attacks.

Belgian and French officials want to know where Salah Abdeslam is, and Belgium has issued an international warrant for him.

French police released his photo and warned people not to interact with him, saying that he is dangerous.

Investigators haven’t said much about how they believe Abdeslam is tied to Friday’s series of shootings and explosions in the French capital.

Jean Thoreau, a spokesman for Belgium’s Federal Prosecutor, said Abdeslam is one of three brothers suspected of involvement in the attacks. One of the brothers was killed in the attacks, and another was arrested by Belgian police, Thoreau said.

Salah Abdeslam had been questioned by French police earlier but was not detained, a source close to the investigation into the Paris attacks said.

He was driving in the direction of the Belgian border when stopped by police and questioned, the source said. Now, his whereabouts are unknown.

The Paris attacks killed at least 129 people and wounded more than 350 others, many of them seriously. The Agence France-Presse news agency reported a higher death toll Sunday but later reverted back to the earlier figure.

The Islamic terror group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the slaughter, which France’s President described as “an act of war.”

French fighter jets struck ISIS targets in the Syrian city of Raqqa on Sunday in what officials called a major bombardment. Authorities made a number of arrests linked to the attacks in Belgium, and investigators homed in on an abandoned car with weapons found in eastern Paris.

Two days after the Paris attacks, the French capital is a city in mourning — and on edge — with key questions looming: Do suspects remain at large? Could another attack be in the offing? And how will France and other countries respond?

Hiding among refugees?

Identities of several attackers emerged Sunday, but many details about who was behind the attacks — and why — remained unclear.

At least one of the terrorists apparently entered the European Union hidden among the wave of refugees arriving on European shores.

European officials believe that there is “a very professional new squad of terrorists inserting themselves into some of these migrant voyages,” CNN’s Christiane Amanpour reports.

One of three bombers who detonated themselves at the Stade de France late Friday arrived on the Greek island of Leros on October 3 among numerous Syrian refugees, Amanpour reported, citing an unnamed French senator who was briefed by the Ministry of the Interior.

The man declared himself to be Syrian, said his name was Ahmad al Mohammad and was, under new procedures set up to help refugees, issued a new emergency passport or similar document.

From Leros, he traveled to Macedonia, Serbia and then Croatia, Amanpour reported.

The fingerprints from the bomber at the Stade de France match those taken when the man was issued his emergency travel document on Leros.

The two other suicide bombers at the stadium carried false Turkish passports, Amanpour reported.

Bilal Hafdi was one of the attackers in Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, according to several sources. Hafdi, who was killed in the attacks, was a Belgian resident who was 19 or 20, the sources said. He is thought to have fought in Syria, Belgian terror expert Guy Van Vlierden said.

One of the suicide bombers has been identified as Ismael Omar Mostefai, according to Jean-Pierre Gorges, the mayor of the French town of Chartres, who is also a member of Parliament. Mostefai lived in Chartres at least until 2012, Gorges said in a Facebook post Saturday.

City on edge

The violence that hit six sites around the city has deepened the trauma for Parisians, who had already been shaken by a series of terrorist attacks in January that left 17 people dead.

People were still out around the city Saturday, some posing for selfies along the Seine or stealing a kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower. But the tower itself — like many other tourist attractions, shops and public buildings — has been closed in the aftermath of the attacks.

Reflecting just how nervous Paris is right now, a panic broke out Sunday evening in a crowd gathered at a memorial erected at one of the sites of Friday’s terror attacks.

Video showed mourners suddenly spooked, though it’s still unclear why.

People ran away screaming. Some jumped over lit candles of the memorial, others grabbed their children and sprinted away.

The panic ended quickly and police have cleared the memorial, saying no one is allowed to gather, at least for the time being.

Security has been stepped up, with military reinforcements drafted in.

There has been an outpouring of support and solidarity in Paris, but large gatherings in the streets have not materialized, partly because the state of emergency prohibits them.

Sadness and fear are taking a toll, Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman said.

“We don’t know yet if this terror in fact is over or not,” he told CNN, highlighting the jitters caused by unsubstantiated rumors circulating on social media.

Three Kalashnikovs found in abandoned car

Investigators in France and elsewhere continue to make arrests of people who may be linked to the Friday night assaults that killed more than 120 people in gun and bomb attacks across Paris.

The French channel BFMTV, a CNN affiliate, reported that authorities had found three Kalashnikov automatic rifles in an abandoned car in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil that was believed to have been used by perpetrators of the attacks.

At least seven people have been arrested in raids in Belgium connected to the Paris attacks, officials said. Those arrested were in contact with the Paris attackers, a senior Belgian counterterrorism source told CNN. No weapons or explosives were found on them.

Two attackers have been identified as French citizens who lived in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, according to Thoreau, the prosecutor’s spokesman.

But officials are still trying to figure out who the assailants were and how they planned and carried out near-simultaneous massacres at restaurants, bars and a concert hall in the French capital without being detected beforehand by intelligence agencies.

Raids in France and Belgium

As investigations into the attacks gathered speed over the weekend, authorities detained people in France and Belgium.

In Belgium, raids were conducted in a Brussels suburb, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Sieghild Lacoere said. A car rented in Brussels was found near one of the sites of the Paris attacks, which triggered the raids, Lacoere said.

At least one of the raids was connected to the Paris attacks, according to a Western intelligence source who is in contact with French and Belgian intelligence services. The other raids were connected to people known to Belgian intelligence, the source told CNN.

Some of the Paris attackers were also known to Belgian intelligence, the source said.

Also Saturday, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported that the father and a brother of one of the attackers had been taken into custody. And AFP reported that the two men were detained after police raided their homes 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of Paris. CNN has not independently verified that the men were picked up by authorities.

A man who rented a VW Polo used by terrorists at the Bataclan was intercepted at the border with Belgium, according to Molins, the Paris prosecutor. The man, who was driving a different vehicle when he was caught, is a French citizen living in Belgium and was accompanied by two other people, Molins said.

Margot Haddad reported from Paris. Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong and Steve Almasy and Ashley Fantz wrote from Atlanta. Tim Lister, Catherine E. Shoichet, Mariano Castillo, Michael Martinez, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, Pierre Meilhan and Jim Bittermann contributed to this report.

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