A deceptively innocuous scene as two still-at-large suspects stop at a service station ahead of the Paris Attacks.
Also, Italian Job Muira goes on sale. New M20 truck park to replace Operation Stack. Major road closures for next week’s Paris climate conference. Temporary Lake Chambon bypass opens on Grenoble-Briancon road.
PARIS PAIR SNAPPED ON TERROR ROAD TRIP
Police still searching for Paris Attacks suspects seen filling up on the way to Paris.
It was at a filling station many readers will have used themselves, on the A1 south towards Paris at Ressons just north of Compiegne.
Mohamed Abrini returns to the car, soft drinks in hand, at 19:00 on Wednesday 11 November.
No-one watching this commonplace scene could possibly have imagined he was part of a terrorist gang which, two days later and less than 100km away, murdered nearly 130 people.
Police are not clear what part, if any, Abrini played in the actual attacks. The car was found abandoned nearly a week later, on Tuesday 17 November, in the 18th Arrondissement, due south of the Stade de France. He hasn’t been seen since.
However, one of the passengers on that Wednesday evening, Salah Abdeslam, is thought to have played a direct role.
A current theory says Abdeslam decided against blowing himself up, threw his suicide belt into a bin in Montrouge south west of the city centre, and fled back to Brussels.
He was checked by police at Cambrai on the A2 near the Belgian border at Mons at 09:10 the morning after the attacks.
Abdeslam might be a terrible terrorist but he has proven very slippery since.
Reports he was seen driving away from Liege on the E40 towards Germany on Sunday evening soon proved false.
roundup: OPERATION STACK. In the Autumn Statement today, Chancellor George Osborne announced £250 million for a new lorry park directly off the M20 to alleviate Operation Stack. The preferred site is at Stanford off J11 but alternatives will be subject to consultation. A local councillor told the BBC that having it in place by November 2016 ‘will be going some’. FRANCE. Major road closures mark the first two days of next week’s COP21 international climate conference in Paris. Both the A1 from Charles de Gaulle airport in the north, and the A6 and A106 from Orly airport in the south, will be reserved for delegates between 16-22:00 on Sunday and 06:00-21:00 (A1) and 14:00-21:00 (A6) on Monday. Detailed diversions and closures are available at the Prefecture de Police website (French only), otherwise driving in the French capital is probably best avoided on these days. Public transport will be free. Also, a temporary road around Lake Chambon has been opened ahead of the skiing season. The tunnel at Chambon on D1091 between Grenoble and Briancon, a major thoroughfare through the northern French Alps, closed in April after a landslide. The new bypass however is not suitable for vehicles weighing more than 3.5t – such vehicles will still have to make the onerous detour via Gap or the Frejus Tunnel though discount tickets for the latter are still available from resort tourist offices.