Brussels Apartment Seen as Explosives Workshop for Paris Attacks

  • Fingerprint puts fugitive Salah Abdeslam at the scene
  • Flat rented under false identity linked to a detained suspect

The Belgian probe into the Paris attacks revealed the suspected terrorists may have used a Brussels apartment to produce the explosives for the Nov. 13 assaults as investigators established links with fugitive Salah Abdeslam and one of 10 suspects in Belgian custody.

Police discovered traces of the homemade explosive powder triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, other bomb-making material and three handmade belts during a Dec. 10 search of a third-floor flat in the Brussels borough of Schaerbeek, the federal prosecutor’s office said on Friday in a statement. They also found a fingerprint of fugitive Abdeslam in the residence, located on Rue Henri Berge.

The apartment was rented using a false identity “that might have been used by a person already in custody in this case,” according to the statement.

The announcement adds to evidence that the Nov. 13 Paris attacks in which 130 people died were prepared and organized in the capital of neighboring Belgium. While suspected Paris attacker Abdeslam remains on the run, Belgian authorities have so far detained 10 suspects on terrorism charges in the probe. All of the suspected terrorists had their residences in Brussels.

TATP was also used in the July 2005 London train bombings and was the explosive of choice for Richard C. Reid, a Briton and self-declared al-Qaeda member who tried to blow up an American Airlines jet en route to Miami from Paris in 2001 using a shoe bomb. The explosive powder, while rather unstable, can be easily prepared using materials that are commercially available in hardware stores, pharmacies and stores selling cosmetics, according to globalsecurity.org.

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