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Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam was stopped by police - and let go

Bono, left, and fellow U2 band members lay flowers on Saturday near the scene of the Bataclan Theatre attack Picture by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Staff Reporters and PA

FRENCH police questioned a suspect at the centre of an international manhunt hours after the Paris attacks - and let him go.

Salah Abdeslam was stopped at a border checkpoint and questioned hours after authorities had already identified him as the person who rented a Volkswagen Polo abandoned at the attack scene.

One of Abdeslam's brothers detonated a suicide vest in central Paris and another was detained in Belgium.

He was one of three people in a car stopped by police on Saturday morning, hours after the attacks that left at least 132 dead, the officials said.

Three French police officials and a top French security official confirmed that officers stopped Abdeslam, checked his ID and then let him go.

Officers warned the public not to approach the 26-year-old Frenchman, born in the Belgian capital Brussels, and described him as dangerous.

Parisians gathered at Notre Dame Cathedral last night to mourn those murdered and to pray for the hundreds injured.

During an 80-minute service inside the French landmark, Cardinal Andre XXIII called on the country not to “provoke aggression” but to remember the dead, despite the “barbaric” attack on the country.

He said: “We pray for hope, not hate.

“The main purpose of us meeting is to pray for the dead, their relatives, the wounded, our country.”

The service began after the cathedral bells rang out across the centre of Paris to remember the dead.

The Irish community in Paris came together in prayer yesterday as a priest who served in north Belfast described the “palpable” fear in the French capital.

Fr Aidan Troy, former parish priest of Holy Cross who now lives and works in Paris, spoke of the sense of disbelief among people in the city.

He said “people are nervous” about leaving their homes in a “very testing time”.

Last night it was reported that French war planes had launched a ‘massive’ air raid on Islamic State targets in Raqqa, Syria.

Politicians at Stormont will today observe a minute’s silence for the victims.

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