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New suspect wanted in Paris terror attacks; French, Russian jets bomb suspected terror site

Investigators are still searching for three suspects -- mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud, accused militant Salah Abdeslam and an unidentified conspirator -- a French official said Tuesday.

By Andrew V. Pestano and Doug G. Ware
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New suspect wanted in Paris terror attacks; French, Russian jets bomb suspected terror site
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind behind the Islamic State Paris attacks, was reportedly targeted in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in October as officials continue the manhunt for another key suspect. Officials believe at least 10 people, including seven suicide bombers, were directly involved in the Paris attacks. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

PARIS, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Authorities are now looking for another suspect who they say conspired to launch last week's terrorist attacks on France, an official said late Tuesday.

European officials had already been searching for Salah Abdeslam, but a French official said the dragnet has widened to include a new unnamed accomplice, The New York Times reported.

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It wasn't immediately clear what role the additional accomplice may have played in Friday's attacks.

Abdeslam, 26, is believed to have participated in the attacks and rented a car used in the shootings. Investigators believe he may have fled to Belgium.

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Also Tuesday, authorities said it's believed at least 10 terrorists aided in the attacks, which killed 129 people in and around Paris. Seven of the terrorists blew themselves up with suicide bombs.

The new information comes as officials continue to search for, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is believed to be the architect of the terror attacks. Officials believe he may have escaped to Syria.

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Abaaoud, 27, is believed to be the link between senior Islamic State leadership and the militant group's operatives in Europe. He was allegedly involved in a failed attack on the Belgian city of Verviers in January, the Times reported, citing a European security official.

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Airstrikes carried out by the U.S.-led coalition targeted Abaaoud in the IS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, last month, U.S. officials said, though he escaped.

Abaaoud, who allegedly joined the terror group -- also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL -- in 2014, is believed to have close links to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The new details about Abaaoud were released Tuesday as related arrests were carried out in Germany.

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Police arrested seven people in the German town of Aachen Tuesday. They were released after a few hours, though, as investigators said they did not have a "close connection" to the Paris attacks.

The raids in Aachen were conducted with Abdeslam in mind, but officials said he was not found there.

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Authorities said Abdeslam was actually stopped by police briefly on Saturday, just hours after the Paris attacks, but police let him go after checking his identity. Officials said he was heading toward Belgium at the time he was stopped.

Abdeslam's brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, was arrested as part of security operations in Belgium but was released because he had an alibi for Friday.

"I was not tied in any way to anything that happened," Mohamed Abdeslam said in a statement. "We don't know where he is, whether he has the courage to turn himself in."

Ibrahim Abdeslam, brother of Mohamed and Salah, died during the Paris attacks after detonating his suicide bomb device.

Security authorities conducted 128 raids overnight Tuesday throughout France and about 115,000 police officers and service members were on patrol throughout France, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told France Info radio.

Earlier Tuesday, French fighter jets dropped several bombs on what French officials describe as an Islamic State command center and training center in Syria. Hours later, Russia also struck the site with cruise missiles and bombs, the Times reported.

Two suspects have been arrested in Belgium -- Brussels native Hamza Attou, 21, and Mohamed Amri, 27, of Morocco -- and charged with participation in a terrorist activity or connection.

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President Francois Hollande on Monday called for a change to France's constitution that will allow the nation to go after the Islamic State in what he said amounts to all-out war against the terror group.

On Tuesday, the European Union invoked an article in its Lisbon Treaty that formally commits the members of the EU to support France -- stating: "If a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power."

Meanwhile, France continued to launch airstrikes against IS positions, including Raqqa. The French Defense Ministry said it used 10 fighter jets from bases in Jordan and from the Persian Gulf to drop 16 bombs in the early morning, effectively destroying an Islamic State command center and training center.

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