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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Lead Plotter Of Paris Muslim Attacks Passed Through Austria And Hungary - France Considers Shutting Over 100 Mosques

Lead Plotter Of Paris Muslim Attacks Passed Through Austria And Hungary - France Considers Shutting Over 100 Mosques

December 4, 2015

Report: Paris attacker had traveled to Hungary
Senior Hungarian officials say Salah Abdeslam had been in Budapest before the November 13 Paris attacks. Ben Ariel

One of the suspected ringleaders of last month's Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, traveled to Hungary where he "recruited a team" from unregistered migrants passing through, senior Hungarian government officials said Thursday, according to AFP.

"I can confirm that one of the main organizers of the Paris terror attacks was in Budapest," Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff Janos Lazar told a regular news conference in Budapest.

Lazar did not name the man or say when he was in Hungary, nor whether those he picked up went on to take part in the November 13 attack in the French capital claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

But speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, a government source later confirmed that the man was in fact Abdeslam, a main suspect in the attacks who is currently on the run.

Lazar had said the suspect had been in Keleti station in Budapest, "recruiting a team from immigrants who had refused to register with Hungarian authorities", referring to migrants.

He then "left the country together with them," Lazar added, according to AFP.

A French source familiar with the investigation told AFP that a car rented by Abdeslam is known to have been in Hungary on September 17.

It was unclear however, whether Abdeslam, who played a key role in the Paris attacks in which 130 people were killed, was himself in the vehicle, and if so, whether he was accompanied, the source added.

There has been a manhunt for Abdeslam, 26, ever since the November 13 attacks. He was not one of 16 suspects arrested in 19 recent raids by the Belgian security forces, and it was later speculated that he fled from Belgium to Germany.

Abdeslam was also registered as having been in Austria on September 9 after being stopped in a routine traffic check, Austrian authorities said on November 17.

He and two other men were stopped in a car with Belgian number plates after travelling south from Germany, not west from Hungary.

Abdeslam told police he was "on holiday".

Austrian authorities last month said that the two others "have so far not been named in connection" with the Paris attacks.



Police seeking two new suspects in Paris attacks
French and Belgian police seeking two suspects who helped fugitive Salah Abdeslam travel to Hungary.

Ben Ariel, Canada

French and Belgian police are seeking two new suspects accused of aiding Salah Abdeslam, the fugitive suspect from the Paris attacks, the BBC reported on Friday.

The pair are "armed and dangerous" and are thought to have helped Abdeslam travel to Hungary in September, according to investigators.

Abdeslam was stopped at the Hungary-Austria border in September accompanied by two men with fake IDs bearing the names Soufiane Kayal and Samir Bouzid, Belgian police said.

"The Federal Prosecutor's Office and the investigating judge wish to appeal to the public again to look out for two new suspects the investigators are actively searching for," the prosecutor's statement said, according to the BBC.

On Thursday, senior officials in Hungary said Abdeslam traveled to Budapest before the Paris attacks where he "recruited a team" from unregistered migrants passing through.

Abdeslam's precise role in the attacks remains unclear. There are suggestions he was meant to carry out a suicide attack on the night but decided against it.

The name Soufiane Kayal was used to rent a house searched in November after the Paris attacks.

The identity card of Samir Bouzid was used to transfer money to Hasna Aitboulahcen, the cousin of attacks ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, four days after the attacks, police said.

Both Aitboulahcen and Abaaoud were killed in a police raid on the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, along with a third, as-yet unidentified person.


Report: France could shutter 160 mosques
The government has decided that the French values of liberté, égalité, and fraternité may be suspended in part

Yaakov Levi

France is set to close as many as 160 mosques in the coming months, a top imam in the country said Wednesday. Hassan El Alaoui, who is the chaplain for Muslims in French prisons and is in charge of nominating imams for official positions, told Al Jazeera that the closure of three mosques this week was a precedent that was likely to turn into a trend.

"According to official figures and our discussions with the interior ministry, between 100 and 160 more mosques will be closed because they are run illegally without proper licenses, they preach hatred, or use takfiri speech," he told Al Jazeera. "This kind of speech shouldn't even be allowed in Islamic countries, let alone secure countries like France."

El Alaoui also justified the closure of the three mosques in Paris this week, saying that they were due to "some illegal things [authorities] have found." In the raid on a mosque Wednesday in Lagny-sur-Marne, 22 miles east of Paris, officials found Jihadist propaganda, as well as weapons. Mosques in Lyon and the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers were closed last week, because they were being used to "preach radicalization," officials said.

In a recent interview with Arutz Sheva, Meyer Habib, a Jewish member of the French parliament, said that it was time to shut down the radicalized mosques in France. "We will have to have a review of out national and international strategy in our war against the Jihadists," said Habib.

"We are going to have be more careful about identifying our enemies and our allies."

To reduce the ability of Islamists to organize and fight French democracy, said Habib, France may need to close mosques and other institutions where radicals gather. I was telling this many months ago to all who would listen, as well as those who would not," Habib said. "Unfortunately, we were too late, and Islamists were able to harm France. We can have no mercy on these terrorists."

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has also said he would consider closing some mosques in America with radical leadership because of the Paris attacks if he were elected president. "I would hate to do it, but it's something that you're going to have to strongly consider," he was quoted by The Associated Press as having said in an interview.

"We have to be much tougher," he said in another interview, according to AP. "We are going to have to give up certain privileges that we've always had. Well you're going to have to watch and study the mosques because a lot of talk is going on at the mosques," he stated.

Trump's comments came as the governors of several American states spoke out against Obama's plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. in 2016. At least one of the terrorists behind the attacks in Paris apparently entered Europe via Greece as a Syrian "refugee". The move, which began with Alabama and Michigan, quickly spread to other states, and by Monday evening, the governors of 24 states announced they would refuse refugees.


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