PARIS, French authorities on Tuesday were examining what appeared to be a suicide bomb vest that resembles those used in the deadly Islamic State Paris attacks.
One of the suspected Islamic State militants behind the attacks, Salah Abdeslam, is believed to have passed through the Montrouge suburb sometime after the coordinated assaults began. Street cleaners working in Montrouge found the vest in a garbage can and alerted Parisian authorities of the potentially discarded suicide vest.
A bomb squad was sent to the scene. The belt may belong to Abdeslam, who was in the area where the vest was found, but that link has not been concluded.
A manhunt for Abdeslam was underway throughout France and Belgium. Some of Abdeslam’s friends said he could possibly be heading toward Syria.
Meanwhile,French President Francois Hollande was en route to Washington D.C. on Tuesday to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss how to build a greater coalition to defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.
France began using the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea on Monday to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets.
The U.S. Department of State issued a Worldwide Travel Alert on Monday alerting citizens of “possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats.”
“Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qaida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions,” the State Department said in a statement. “These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.”
The travel alert — which expires in February — is an unusual measure but has happened before. The alert was issued twice in 2011, after the death of Osama bin Laden and the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions,” the State Department added. “Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots. We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism.”
By Andrew V. Pestano