Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam travelled to Budapest ahead of the attacks to pick up men that had arrived in the Hungarian capital amid a massive influx of migrants. The Hungarian government confirmed that a suspected member of the jihadi gang that killed 130 people on 13 November in the French capital met some men at Budapest's Keleti train station in early September.
Janos Lazar, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff, told a press conference the country's secret services were able to verify the information recently received by foreign agencies. He did not name the suspect but a government source speaking on condition of anonymity told AP it was Abdeslam.
Hungarian authorities said that while in Budapest he recruited an unspecified number of migrants who were refusing to register with Hungarian authorities at the rail terminal, and subsequently left the country with them. In early September thousands of asylum-seekers crowded the Keleti station hoping to board trains for Austria and Germany.
Manhunt under way for eighth attacker
An international manhunt is currently under way for the 26-year-old that went on the run shortly after the attacks, possibly backing out of the murderous plot last minute. Investigating authorities believe that an explosive belt they found amid a pile of rubbish in the southern Paris district of Montrouge was abandoned by Abdeslam.
The device was of the same type used by other suicide bombers, including his brother, Brahim, that carried out the carnage, containing the same key ingredient, triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, a highly unstable explosive. Abdeslam's telephone was also traced to Montrouge the night of the attacks and the Islamic State (Isis) group, which claimed responsibility for the killings, initially boasted its militants had targeted the 18th arrondissement although no incidents took place there. They also claimed eight attackers took part, with seven dying in the attacks.
Hungary was not the first European country Abdeslam visited in the weeks before the massacre. Last month, the Italian government confirmed that the fugitive jihadist passed through the country in the summer, boarding a ferry from the southern port of Bari to Greece on 1 August. He was reportedly accompanied by Ahmad Dahmani, another Belgian arrested in Turkey last week in connection with the Paris attacks. The pair made a return trip to Bari on 5 August and are later understood to have crossed to France by car.