French authorities have alerted Madrid that one of the suspects in the Paris terrorist attacks may have fled France with the goal of hiding in Spain.
Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old Belgian, is thought to have helped with the logistics for the chain of attacks that hit the French capital on Friday night, killing 129 people.
He is also the brother of Ibrahim Abdeslam, one of the suicide attackers.
While all countries in the Schengen area have been notified, Spain and Belgium have been asked to be especially vigilant because of their proximity to France.
But French authorities have underscored that for now, it is only “a possibility.”
Spanish Interior Ministry sources said that so far, French authorities have been unable to certify whether the suspect has even left France. Police sources said that “the most likely scenario is that he returned to Belgium or remains in France.”
Spanish counter-terrorism sources have confirmed that none of the terrorists identified was on a suspect list in Spain, nor did they have any known ties to the country.
Salah Adeslam, born in Brussels and with no criminal record, allegedly rented a car that was used in the attacks.
Spanish counter-terrorism sources have confirmed that none of the terrorists identified was on a suspect list in Spain
Madrid and Paris have been exchanging counter-terrorism information and assessing the risk of new attacks in both countries. French authorities are especially interested in hearing from Spanish security services because in the past, French Islamist terrorists have sent their families to Spain for safety before perpetrating their attacks.
Mohamed Merah and Amedy Coulibaly, who participated in terrorist attacks in France in 2012 and this year – against the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo – used Madrid and Barcelona airports to send their families to Syria via Turkey.
English version by Susana Urra.
Confusion over Spanish victim count
Two of the Spaniards declared dead by French authorities have turned up alive.
Alberto Pardo Touceda, 34, was in Strasbourg at the time of the attacks, and personally contacted the Spanish consulate in Paris. Touceda, a resident in France, said that his ID card was stolen three years ago in Bordeaux and that perhaps one of the victims of the Friday attacks had been using it.
Jorge Alonso de Celada, the second Spaniard believed dead, found the police in his hotel when he returned from a stroll around Paris. His family had told Spanish authorities that he was alive and well.
French authorities had sent a written confirmation of their deaths to the Spanish consulate in Paris.
So far, the only victim confirmed by the Spanish government is Juan Alberto González Garrido, a 29-year-old engineer who died inside the Bataclan concert hall. He had been attending a concert there with his wife, also Spanish, who survived the attack. The couple had been married in the summer.