Salah Abdeslam, the prime suspect in the Paris terror attacks, may have decided to turn around and "not pursue it to the end", according to his brother, Mohamed Abdeslam.
Europe's most wanted man, Abdeslam, 26, has been on the run after allegedly gunning down crowds of Friday night revelers in cafes and bars in Paris on 13 November, in a massacre that has left at least 130 people dead. Around 2,000 police officers have been assigned the task of finding him.
"It's more than my hope, it's my conviction. Salah is very intelligent, I think that at the very last minute, Salah decided to turn back," Mohamed Abdeslam told Belgian television RTBF. "He may have seen something, heard something that wasn't what he expected and he may have decided not to pursue it to the end."
Salah Abdeslam is one of three brothers believed to have been involved in the coordinated terror attacks. Ibrahim Abdeslam, 31, was identified by prosecutors as the man who rented a Seat vehicle used in the massacre. He carried out the suicide attack at the Comptoir Voltaire cafe.
In the hours after the attacks, French police stopped Salah and two other men close to the border with Belgium three times, but let them go because their names were not at that stage on any wanted list.
The other two men, named as Hamza Attou and Mohamed Amri, were then arrested and are being held in police custody where they are being interrogated for their "simple (logistical) role of taxi (drivers)".
Quoting Belgian investigators, the newspaper La Libre said the men denied any part in the attacks in the 10th and 11th Arrondissements and the Stade De France. During questioning, the two suspects claimed to be unaware that Salah Abdeslam had taken part in the attacks.
"We didn't know," they said, according to La Libre newspaper, but insisted they had received only a call from Abdeslam a couple of hours after the attacks on the stadium and the Bataclan Concert Hall.