Belgian officials discover hideouts of Paris terrorists

Belgian investigators have discovered three hideouts used by terrorists and suspects involved in the November attacks in Paris, prosecutors said Wednesday. 

Belgium has been heavily involved in the investigations following the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people, as several of the perpetrators had links to the country. 

The fingerprints of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the attacks, and of Bilal Hadfi, who blew himself up outside the Stade de France football stadium, had been found in an apartment in the southern city of Charleroi, prosecutors said.

A second apartment, in the Brussels suburb of Schaerbeek, contained material for the preparation of explosives, precision scales, traces of acetone peroxide - a highly explosive substance - belts and a sketch of a person wearing a large belt around the waist. 

Investigators had also found DNA traces in the Schaerbeek apartment of Bilal Hadfi and a fingerprint of Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect who is still on the run.

The third hideout was a house in Auvelais, 15 kilometres outside of Charleroi. It had been rented under the name used by a man who had travelled to Budapest with Abdeslam in September, and contained several mattresses, prosecutors said.

The three premises were raided in late November and December. They had all been rented for a year under false identities. No weapons were found in any of the locations, according to a prosecution statement. 

Investigators had also established that a Seat car involved in the Paris attacks had passed near the Charleroi and Auvelais dwellings. A BMW rented by another suspect, Mohammed B., had also passed near all three locations. 

Further evidence uncovered at the three premises is still being investigated, the prosecution said. 

Last update: Wed, 13/01/2016 - 12:00

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