French terror suspect was questioned and then released

Saleh Abdeslam, the man believed to be directly involved in Friday’s terror attack in Paris, was questioned by police hours after the attack but was released, four French officials told The Associated Press (AP) on Sunday night, shortly after it was announced that a manhunt was underway for Abdeslam.

According to AP, Abdeslam was one of three people in a car stopped by police Saturday morning. At this point in time, authorities had already identified Abdeslam as the renter of a Volkswagen Polo that was abandoned at the scene of the attack, the officials said.

Three French police officials and a top French security official confirmed that officers stopped Abdeslam and checked his ID and then let him go.

The officials spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose details of the investigation.

Earlier Sunday, French officials had said Abdeslam was being hunted by police. He is one of three brothers believed to be involved in the killings in central Paris. He reportedly rented the black Volkswagen Polo used by the terrorists who killed at least 89 people inside the Bataclan concert hall.

One of the suspect’s brothers has been arrested in Belgium and another brother was killed in the attack.

Three of the seven Islamist suicide bombers have already been identified as French citizens. At least one of seven other people arrested in Belgium in connection to the deadly attacks is also French.