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Belgium missed 13 chances to unmask Paris attackers: Leaked police report

The police also failed to timely address the request from Spanish authorities for more information on Salah's older brother Brahim Abdeslam. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Brussels, Belgium Oct 08, 2016, 11.40 AM (IST)

Despite intelligence reports on the attackers of the deadly Paris attacks in November, Belgian police missed 13 opportunities to unmask the participants before the attacks, according to an internal report. 

The De Tijd newspaper on Saturday said the leaked police report clearly showed the forces were in possession of incriminating information that linked Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving member of the group of attackers, to known terror suspects. 

The report showed police found phone records as early as February 2015 but failed to properly handle the information due to lack of investigators. The police report itself cites staff shortages in six of the 13 missed opportunities. 

The police also failed to timely address the request from Spanish authorities for more information on Salah's older brother Brahim Abdeslam after he travelled to Spain in March 2015. Brahim had blown himself up in the Paris cafe at the night of the massacre. 

The Abdeslam brothers, who are from the Molenbeek district in Brussels, were under surveillance by the Brussels police. 

Earlier leaks of the report said that Brussels police had warned higher ups that the two had been radicalised with links to an important Islamic State figure, the ringleader of the Paris attack, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

But the information was never followed up by the Belgian police, according to the report. 

(WION with inputs from AFP)
 

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