French Police Carry Out 128 Raids Overnight as Hunt for Paris Attack Suspect Continues

PHOTO:Policemen stand in front of a building, Nov. 16, 2015, in Strasbourg, eastern France, during investigations following the attacks in Paris. PlayFederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH French Police Conduct Terror Raids After Paris Attacks

French police conducted 128 raids across France overnight, the Interior Minister announced this morning, as the hunt for suspects in Friday’s attacks on Paris continues.

He added that 115,000 police officers are patrolling the country.

Authorities believe at least 10 people, including seven suicide bombers, had direct involvement in the Paris attacks. Two were arrested in Belgium and charged with terror-related offenses, officials there say, while one man remains on the loose.

French authorities are desperately hunting for Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French national born in Brussels who is thought to have been the eighth gunman in the attacks.

The arrest warrant for Salah Abdeslam calls him "very dangerous" and warns people not to intervene if they see him.

Officials know Abdeslam crossed the border into Belgium early Saturday, despite border checks implemented shortly after the attacks.

A car with three men, including Abdeslam, was stopped near the France-Belgium border early Saturday. By then, hours had passed since authorities identified Abdeslam as the renter of a Volkswagen Golf that had carried attackers to the Bataclan concert hall where 89 people died and hundreds more were wounded.

But three French police officials and a top French security official have confirmed that officers let Abdeslam go after checking his ID. They spoke on condition of anonymity, lacking authorization to publicly disclose such details.

Authorities in Belgium thought they had located Abdeslam early Monday, but a police operation in Molenbeek, a suburb of Belgium, ended without his capture, the mayor of the town said Monday.

A spokesperson for Belgium’s federal prosecutor confirmed to ABC News that seven people were arrested and detained for questioning in Molenbeek in relation to the Paris attacks. Two have been charged with "participation in terrorist activity" and "preparation of a terrorist attack" for their alleged involvement in the attacks carried out on Friday, while the other five, including Salah Abdeslam’s brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, have been released.

PHOTO: French police officers stand guard in front of the main entrance of Bataclan concert hall as the cordon is lifted following Fridays terrorist attacks on Nov. 16, 2015 in Paris.Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
French police officers stand guard in front of the main entrance of Bataclan concert hall as the cordon is lifted following Fridays terrorist attacks on Nov. 16, 2015 in Paris.

The identities of the two men charged have not been publicly disclosed.

Mohamed Abdeslam said in a statement delivered in French that he was released because he had an alibi for Friday night. "I was not tied in any way to anything that happened," he said, adding that his family hasn’t heard from Salah. "We don’t know where he is, whether he has the courage to turn himself in."

One of the attackers who died Friday night after detonating his suicide belt was Brahim Abdeslam, brother of Salah and Mohamad.

"My parents are shocked … didn’t notice anything among my brothers, they acted normally," said Mohamad Abdeslam, who added that he wasn’t aware that his brothers were in Paris.

In a message to the victims’ families, he said, "We are touched by what happened and we never thought that one of our brothers was part of this attack. We are thinking about the families of the victims but we should also remember that my mother, one of her sons is dead and she is affected by that."

While authorities continue the hunt for Salah Abdeslam, they are also seeking anyone else who may have been involved in planning the attacks.

Iraqi intelligence officials told The Associated Press that an ISIS sleeper cell in France met with the attackers after their training in Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, and helped them to execute the plan. According to those officials, there were 24 people involved in the operation: 19 attackers and five others in charge of logistics and planning.

None of these details have been corroborated by officials in France or with other Western intelligence agencies.

But French authorities have identified a high-profile member of ISIS who they suspect was the "mastermind" behind the Paris attacks. He is Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who has been prominently featured in ISIS videos released online.

The 28-year-old Abaaoud is reportedly from Molenbeek, the same neighborhood in Belgium as Salah and Brahim Abdeslam, though he is now believed to be in Syria. Abaaoud is considered a "high-profile terrorism figure," said one French official.

He has been previously linked to smaller terror plots in Europe, including an attack that killed two policemen in January, according to the French and Iraqi security and intelligence officials who spoke with the AP on condition of anonymity, citing the ongoing investigation.