Belgian-born French national Salah Abdeslam (26) is now the subject of a massive manhunt. He is believed to have rented a VW Polo car in Belgium, which was later found near the Bataclan concert hall were 89 people were killed.
Austrian security sources said that he drove into Upper Austria from Germany on September 9th with two companions. They were subjected to a routine traffic check in Aistersheim, around 50 km from the border.
Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundböck said that at the time the authorities had no suspicion that Abdeslam had any connection to jihadists. The two other men “have so far not been named in connection” with the Paris attacks, the ministry said in a statement.
It is not clear why he had travelled to Austria. “He said he was going on holiday to Vienna for a few days, but there are no further details yet,” Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner told Austrian broadcaster ORF. She added that security services are now investigating where he stayed and who he met with in Austria.
Abdelslam is believed to have taken part in the shootings on the terraces of the bar Le Carillon, the nearby restaurant Casa Nostro and the Belle Equipe, where 19 died.
Meanwhile, three people have been arrested in Aachen in Germany in connection with the Paris attacks.