Belgian authorities are appealing for information on a fugitive suspect in the Paris attacks investigation who has been identified after the arrest of alleged perpetrator Salah Abdeslam. The federal prosecutor's office named Najim Laachraoui as an accomplice of the attackers who killed 130 people in the French capital on 13 November.
Police said they were seeking information on the 24-year-old who went to Syria in 2013 and is believed to have held a coordinating role in the attacks. "The investigation showed that Soufiane Kayal can be identified as Najim Laachraoui, born on May 18, 1991 and who travelled to Syria in February 2013," a statement read.
Laachraoui was stopped by police, using a fake Belgian passport in the name of Soufiane Kayal, on the Austria-Hungary border for a random check in September 2015, as he travelled in a Mercedes car with Abdeslam and another man.
Detectives believe the third man in the vehicle, who also used a fake document that identified him as Samir Bouzid, was Islamic State (Isis) affiliate Mohamed Belkaid. The 35-year-old Algerian was shot dead by police snipers as, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, he allegedly covered for Abdeslam's escape from a flat in the southern Brussels suburb of Forest that was raided by security forces on 15 March.
Abdeslam, whose fingerprints were found in the apartment, was captured three days later 500m from his home in the Moleenbek district of the Belgian capital. Investigators believe in September he travelled to Budapest to pick up Belkaid and Laachraoui who supposedly arrived there using the Balkans migrant route walked by tens of thousands of refugees last summer.
Under the name of Kayal, Laachraoui later rented a house in the Belgian town of Auvelais that served as a safe house for the Islamist militants in the preparation for the attacks. Police raids carried out in the days after the massacre in the French capital found traces of his DNA at the premises as well as at another address in Schaarbeek, near Brussels that was also used by the jihadi cell.
The two men are suspected of providing logistical support to the Paris gunmen and suicide bombers. According to security services they were the recipients of more than 20 text messages sent the evening of 13 November from a mobile phone found in a rubbish bin near the Bataclan theatre, including one reading: "We have left, we begin".
Days after the attacks Belkaid used his fake passport to wire €750 (£588, €845) to Hasna Ait Boulahcen, the cousin of the alleged ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Authorities were listening as the two discussed details of the Western Union transfer in a phone conversation later used to locate Abaaoud's hideout in a Saint-Denis flat. Both the alleged mastermind and his cousin were killed in a subsequent police raid.
Laachraoui is not the only Paris suspect still at large. Mohamed Abrini, 31, is among Europe's most wanted fugitives since he was filmed with Abdeslam at a petrol station on a highway to Paris on 11 November aboard a Renault Clio that was used in the attacks two days later. Described as "armed and dangerous" in a European arrested warrant the Belgian-Moroccan is believed to have travelled to Syria after serving short stints in jail for petty crime and robberies.