Paris attackers have Britain links: US media

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Several people suspected of having ties to the alleged ringleader of last month’s Paris terror attacks are based in Britain, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The US newspaper, citing unnamed Western officials, said several people with connections to the attacks’ suspected planner, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, are based in the Birmingham area in England’s West Midlands region.

Abaaoud was killed in a police raid five days after the November 13 attacks, along with a cousin and an unidentified third person, according to French authorities.

At least one person connected to the attacks, which left 130 people dead, was thought to have traveled to Britain beforehand, the Journal reported.

Islamist extremists have surfaced before in Birmingham, Britain’s second-largest city. For example, Junaid Hussain, who has been identified as a high-ranking Islamic State group operative, was from Birmingham.

Hussain was believed to be behind a number of cyber attacks, including on the US military’s Central Command websites and Twitter accounts.

The London Metropolitan Police declined to comment for the Journal story.

Meanwhile, Belgium said it was searching for two new “armed and dangerous” suspects who used false ID papers to help Salah Abdeslam, who is also sought in connection with the Paris attacks, to travel to Hungary in September.

The men’s true identities are not publicly known, but they carried the identities of Belgian nationals Soufiane Kayal and Samir Bouzid.