PARIS: A suspected suicide belt with a similar “configuration” to those used in the Paris attacks was found Monday just south of the French capital, sources close to the investigation said.
The object was found in a dustbin in the suburb of Montrouge, a police source said, adding that the device lacked a detonator.
Telephone data places Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the attacks who is believed to still be on the run, in the same area on the night of the attacks, according to a source close to the inquiry.
The belt, which was found by dustmen 10 days after the attacks in the capital that left 130 people dead, is being analysed “to confirm whether it is explosive,” the source added.
Another police source said the belt appeared to have “the same configuration” as those used by the jihadists who carried out the Paris carnage.
Abdeslam, 26, is the subject of a massive manhunt in both France and Belgium, suspected of playing at least a logistical role in the coordinated shooting and suicide bombings of November 13, which have been claimed by the Islamic State group.
The lawyer of one of the men who has been charged on suspicion of helping Abdeslam escape to Brussels after the attacks said the key suspect “may have been ready to detonate.”
Abeslam’s brother Mohamed on Sunday told Belgian television he thought Salah had decided at the very last moment not to go through with his attack.
Of around a dozen people suspected of playing a role in the attacks, seven blew themselves up: two at the Bataclan concert venue, three at the Stade de France stadium, one at a cafe on Boulevard Voltaire and one during a post-attacks police raid at an apartment in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.
The suicide belt worn by a third attacker at the Bataclan exploded after he was killed by French security forces.
Francois Molins, the Paris anti-terror prosecutor who is taking centre-stage in the investigation, said the vests used in the attacks were made using TATP – acetone peroxide, a chemical easy for amateurs to produce – as well as batteries and a push-button detonator. –AFP/nst