French police had released the main suspect, after questioning him, who is now at the centre of a global manhunt, according to officials.
Saleh Abdelslam, 26, was headed for France’s border with Belgium in a car with two persons when the police stopped them on 13 November. Hours had passed since Abdelslam was identified as the one who took a Volkswagen Polo on rent to carry attackers to the Paris theatre where nearly 100 people were killed.
French President Francois Hollande had announced new border controls to prevent culprits from escaping the police dragnet.
But it is not clear why the police didn’t take Abdelslam into custody. They checked his identification, and released him.
Salah is believed to be one of three brothers linked to the attacks. He is the brother of Brahim Abdeslam, 31, who was identified by police as the suicide bomber who detonated his explosive vest on Boulevard Voltaire during the dastardly attacks by terrorists on Paris on 13 November.
Also prior to the attacks, Iraqi intelligence had warned France and members of the US-led group fighting the IS that attacks by the group were likely, according to a dispatch obtained by AP.
IS leader Abu Bakr al—Baghdadi had ordered followers to use guns and bombs and take hostages in coalition countries and Iran and Russia, as per the 11 November dispatch. It didn’t say where or when the attacks might hit, but a French officer said “We get such information virtually every day.”
But the French were given details of the size of the sleeper cell of militants that was directing attackers sent to France from Raqqa, (an IS stronghold) in Syria. The details given by Iraq were not corroborated by French or Western security officials.
But a US official said on 14 November that the weaponry skill displayed by the attackers suggested they might have received training.