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French police extend questioning of suspect after attacks

French bomberINVESTIGATORS yesterday extended into a fifth day the detention of a man arrested on Wednesday outside the building where the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks died, the prosecutor’s office said.

Jawad Bendaoud told a French television station he had been asked to put two people up in his apartment for three days, but had no idea they had anything to do with terrorism. He was then taken away by police.

Under an anti-terrorism law introduced in 2006, terrorism suspects can be held for up to six days if there is a serious risk of an imminent act of terrorism, or for international cooperation. Then they must be charged or released.

Police have already released the seven other people detained during the assault on the flat last Wednesday in which presumed mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and two other people died.

France has launched a massive investigation to get to the bottom of exactly who was behind the shootings and bombings in Paris last Friday at the national soccer stadium, a famous concert venue and several bars and restaurants.

Investigators believe Abaaoud, a Moroccan-born Belgian who had fought for Islamic State in Syria and was one the group’s most high-profile European recruits, was the mastermind behind the attacks.

One of the suspected assailants, Salah Abdeslam, fled to Belgium the day after and fears of more deadly attacks prompted the authorities there to put Brussels on maximum alert on Saturday.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel advised the public to be alert rather than panic-stricken, but said the raised security level was due to the “serious and imminent” threat of Paris-style coordinated attacks.



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