French detectives are under fire for an epic blunder that could potentially cause an alleged Paris terrorist to walk away scot-free. According to the Daily Mail, the alleged shooting suspect — identified as Salah Abdeslam, was stopped and interrogated at the Belgium border after the horrific Paris shooting took place. But, instead of being apprehended immediately, he was let go by French police.
On Saturday morning, Abdeslam was pulled over by French authorities on the A2 highway between Paris and Brussels. It has been reported that he was even driving a “hired car” reportedly used during the attacks. But, even after he showed his ID and his identification was verified by French security authorities, he was able to proceed. So, what happened? Why was the Paris terrorism suspect let go?
Apparently, there was a reported lapse in communication and time was a major factor that contributed to the highly-publicized blunder. French detectives have confirmed that Abdeslam was, indeed, one of three men inside the vehicle when it was stopped and that he was listed as a “person of interest” at the time of the traffic stop. But, unfortunately, detectives at the border weren’t aware that he was a suspect. French detectives didn’t realize what they’d done until it was later discovered that Abdeslam was the person who’d rented the mysterious black Volkswagen Polo that was abandoned just blocks away from the scene of the horrific Bataclan theater massacre which claimed the lives of 89 people.
By the time police officers in Paris alerted French officials at the border, it was already too late. It has been reported that the information transmitted had not been received by border patrol officials when Abdeslam and the other two men were stopped.
Now, an international manhunt is under way. According to BBC News, French officials have alerted authorities in Belgium as the search for an extremely dangerous Abdeslam has widened. Although specific details about the suspects have not been released, French detectives believe the gunman may be with a team of at least eight assailants who may have gathered prior to the attack in the Belgian Jihad capital of Europe to prepare for the attack. There the assailants collected their AK-47s and suicide vests.
The shocking news comes shortly after several witnesses and survivors recounted the horrific series of events that occurred. According to International Business Times, Julien Pearce, a reporter for a European radio station and a survivor — only identified as 38-year-old Sylvain, were both attending the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan theater when the shooting began. Pearce revealed that he’d seen the faces of the young assailants, who were armed with Kalashnikov AK-47s while Sylvain detailed how it felt to be caught in the midst of chaos. He also revealed what he heard one of the shooters say and believes at least once of the assailants is a female.
“I saw their faces. The nearest to me was very young, barely in his 20s perhaps,” Pearce said. “He had the beginning of a beard and an empty stare,” he said. “He was like a killing machine. He was finishing off people methodically, even those who were begging him to spare them.”
“I was watching the concert in the pit, in the midst of the mass of the audience. First I heard explosions, and I thought it was firecrackers,” Sylvain said. “Very soon I smelled powder, and I understood what was happening. There were shots everywhere, in waves. I lay down on the floor. I saw at least two shooters, but I heard others talk. They cried, ‘It’s Hollande’s fault.’ I heard one of the shooters shout, ‘Allahu Akbar,'” he added.
The international manhunt for Salah Abdeslam and the other assailants continues.
[Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images]