Police in Belgian town say they 'forgot' to pass along information about Paris attacker's whereabouts

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Criticisms Over Belgium Counter Intelligence Spending

The police in the Belgian town of Mechelen knew the whereabouts of the prime suspect behind the Paris terrorist attacks, Salah Abdeslam, as far back as December — but failed to share the intelligence with other Belgian authorities.

The Flemish newspaper De Morgen first reported the news, which was later confirmed by Mechelen's police chief, Yves Bogaerts, in a news conference.

"Unfortunately, a mistake has been made within my team," he said, according to De Morgen. "A colleague with an excellent record of service forgot to pass on the information from [Abdeslam's] file."

Learn more about the suspects of the Paris attacks:

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Suspects in the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Salah Abdeslam, Ahmad Almohammad
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Police in Belgian town say they 'forgot' to pass along information about Paris attacker's whereabouts
This undated image made available in the Islamic State's English-language magazine Dabiq, shows Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Abaaoud the Belgian jihadi suspected of masterminding deadly attacks in Paris was killed in a police raid on a suburban apartment building, the city prosecutor's office announced Thursday Nov. 1, 2015. Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins' office said 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud was identified based on skin samples. His body was found in the apartment building targeted in the chaotic and bloody raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis on Wednesday. (Militant photo via AP)
This undated image made available in the Islamic State's English-language magazine Dabiq, shows Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Abaaoud, the child of Moroccan immigrants who grew up in the Belgian capital’s Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighborhood, was identified by French authorities on Monday Nov. 16, 2015, as the presumed mastermind of the terror attacks last Friday in Paris that killed over a hundred people and injured hundreds more. (Militant Photo via AP)
This undated image taken from a Militant Website on Monday Nov. 16, 2015 showing Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. A French official says Abdelhamid Abaaoud is the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks was also linked to thwarted train and church attacks. (Militant video via AP)
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected mastermind of the #ParisAttacks was "interviewed" in #ISIS's Dabiq magazine https://t.co/wSKmztFfn5
BREAKING: Third Bataclan attacker identified as Foued Mohamed-Aggad https://t.co/FYwEykV9Kp https://t.co/7g6vH7gvwH
This undated photo released late Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, by Greece's migration policy ministry shows a registration photo from a document issued to 25-year old Ahmad Almohammad, holder of a Syrian passport found near a dead assailant in the scene of a Paris attack Friday. The document was issued on Sunday, Oct. 4 by authorities on the Greek island of Leros, where the man arrived a day earlier on a frail boat carrying migrants over from Turkey. It protects him from deportation for six months, and is the same documentation routinely issued to thousands of newly-arrived migrants. (Greek Migration Ministry via AP)
This undated photo released late Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, by Greece's migration policy ministry shows a document issued to 25-year old Ahmad Almohammad, holder of a Syrian passport found near a dead assailant in the scene of a Paris attack Friday. The document was issued on Sunday, Oct. 4 by authorities on the Greek island of Leros, where the man arrived a day earlier on a frail boat carrying migrants over from Turkey. It protects him from deportation for six months, and is the same documentation routinely issued to thousands of newly-arrived migrants. On the right is a copy of his fingerprints, taken on Saturday, Oct. 3. (Greek Migration Policy Ministry via AP)

This undated file photo provided by French Police shows 26-year old Salah Abdeslam, who is wanted by police in connection with recent terror attacks in Paris, as police investigations continue Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. French police released the wanted notice and photo of the suspect on the run since the attacks in Paris on Friday. The notice, released on the France National Police Twitter account, says anyone seeing Salah Abdeslam, should consider him dangerous. (Police Nationale via AP)

This undated file photo released Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, by French Police shows 26-year old Salah Abdeslam, who is wanted by police in connection with recent terror attacks in Paris, as police investigations continue. The notice, released on the national police Twitter account, says anyone seeing Salah Abdeslam, should consider him dangerous and call authorities immediately. The notice reads in French: "Call for witnesses - Police are hunting a suspect : Salah Abdeslam, born on Sept. 15, 1989 Brussels, Belgium. ...Dangerous individual don't intervene yourself". (Police Nationale via AP)
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The Mechelen police apparently received a tip from Abdeslam's nephew, Abid Aberkan, in November that Abdeslam may have been hiding in Mechelen, a town just north of Brussels. The Mechelen police filed the report on Abdeslam's whereabouts on December 7, three weeks after the fugitive was believed to have helped plan and carry out November's Paris attacks, which killed 130 people.

The information was evidently supposed to be transferred to the Antwerp prosecutor's office and referred to the federal police. Abdeslam was captured in a raid by Belgian police officers last week — after three months that he most likely spent planning Tuesday's attacks in Brussels, authorities have said.

The incident highlights the fragmented nature of Belgium's security apparatus. In Brussels alone, the police force is divided among six police corps spread out over 19 boroughs.

Françoise Schepmans, the mayor of Molenbeek — the Brussels district where Abdeslam was arrested that is known as a hotbed for jihadists — told CNN there was "no collaboration" between the local and federal police forces in Belgium.

"They don't have to talk to me about their investigation," Schepmans said, referring to the police in different districts.

At least 30 people were reported killed and hundreds more wounded after explosions ripped through Zaventem Airport and a metro station in Brussels on Tuesday morning.

Belgian authorities have been criticized over reports that they interrogated Abdeslam for only one hour between the time he was captured last week and Tuesday's attacks.

Abdeslam's lawyer has insisted that he was not aware of the plot. But prosecutors say they have linked Abdeslam to the attacks, noting that his fingerprints were found in a Brussels apartment that had been rented out by one of the Brussels suicide bombers, Khalid El Bakraoui.

Belgium's interior minister, Jan Jambon, and Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens both offered to resign after the attacks over the security lapses that may have allowed the attackers to plan and carry out their attacks undetected. Their resignations were refused by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

See the international response to the Brussels attacks:

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Brussels Attacks: International security response
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Police in Belgian town say they 'forgot' to pass along information about Paris attacker's whereabouts
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 22: (FRANCE OUT) French police officers patrol at the Trocadero Plaza next to the Eiffel Tower on March 22, 2106 in Paris, France. Since this morning 400 policemen and gendarmes have been deployed to increase the security in airports, stations and public transportation around Paris and its region after the terrorist attacks in Brussels today. (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)
German police officers guard a terminal of the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, when various explosions hit the Belgian capital Brussels killing several people. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
An Israeli airport security guard patrols with a dog in Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. After the Brussels attacks, Israel briefly announced that all Israeli flights from Europe were canceled, then reinstated the flights, Israel Airports Authority spokesman Ofer Leffler said. Pini Schiff, former director of security at Ben-Gurion Airport, said the attack in the Brussels airport was âa colossal failureâ of Belgian security, and he said âthe chances are very lowâ that such a bombing could take place in Israelâs airport. Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport is considered among the most secure in the world, an outcome stemming from several Palestinian attacks on Israeli planes and travelers in the 1970s. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A police officer guards a terminal of the airport during tighter security measures in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Explosions, at least one likely caused by a suicide bomber, rocked the Brussels airport and subway system Tuesday, prompting a lockdown of the Belgian capital and heightened security across Europe. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Travelers wait at the counter of Brussels airlines in Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. After the Brussels attacks, Israel briefly announced that all Israeli flights from Europe were canceled, then reinstated the flights, Israel Airports Authority spokesman Ofer Leffler said. Pini Schiff, former director of security at Ben-Gurion Airport, said the attack in the Brussels airport was âa colossal failureâ of Belgian security, and he said âthe chances are very lowâ that such a bombing could take place in Israelâs airport. Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport is considered among the most secure in the world, an outcome stemming from several Palestinian attacks on Israeli planes and travelers in the 1970s. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
An Israeli airport security guard patrols with a dog in Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. After the Brussels attacks, Israel briefly announced that all Israeli flights from Europe were canceled, then reinstated the flights, Israel Airports Authority spokesman Ofer Leffler said. Pini Schiff, former director of security at Ben-Gurion Airport, said the attack in the Brussels airport was âa colossal failureâ of Belgian security, and he said âthe chances are very lowâ that such a bombing could take place in Israelâs airport. Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport is considered among the most secure in the world, an outcome stemming from several Palestinian attacks on Israeli planes and travelers in the 1970s. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
French soldiers check unattended boxes left on the platform at Gare De Lyon railway station in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities are tightening security at airports and on the streets of European cities after attacks on the Brussels airport and subways system that killed at least one person and injured many others. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Passengers of an ICE train leave the train at its final stop at the station in Aachen, Germany, near to the Belgian border Tuesday March 22, 2016. German police have increased security measures at the borders following the terrorist attacks in Brussels. (Ralf Roeger/dpa via AP)
Passengers at Warsawâs Frederic Chopin airport in Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, pass by an information board that lists flights to Brussels as canceled, following deadly blasts at Busselsâ airport. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
A German police officer guards a terminal of the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, when various explosions hit the Belgian capital Brussels killing several people. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Border guards patrol at Warsawâs Frederic Chopin airport in Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 after security measures were increased at Polandâs airports following attacks in Brussels , Belgium. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Border Guards patrol at Warsawâs Frederic Chopin airport in Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 after security measures were increased at Polandâs airports following attacks in Brussels , Belgium. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
French police officers patrol outside the Gare du Nord train station, where high speed trains depart to Brussels, in Paris, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe and across the world tightened security at airports, railway stations, government buildings and other key points after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 22: (FRANCE OUT) French police officers patrol at the Trocadero Plaza next to the Eiffel Tower on March 22, 2106 in Paris, France. Since this morning 400 policemen and gendarmes have been deployed to increase the security in airports, stations and public transportation around Paris and its region after the terrorist attacks in Brussels today. (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)
A police officer with a sniffer dog checks a trash bin at the airport in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Danish police patrol Copenhagen International Airport, in Kastrup, Denmark, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (Jens Dresling/POLFOTO via AP) DENMARK OUT
An electronic billboard displays two canceled flight to Brussels at Milan's Malpensa international airport, in Busto Arsizio, Italy, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
An armed British policeman stands on duty outside as tourists walk past Horse Guards parade in central London, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe and beyond have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
London's Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe leaves the Cabinet Office in London, after a government emergency meeting in the wake of the attacks in Brussels, Tuesday, March, 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe and beyond have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Police officers patrol the check in area of the Milan's Malpensa international airport, in Busto Arsizio, Italy, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
A Eurostar train arrivals board shows the Brussels route is cancelled due to "Security Alert in Brussels", at St Pancras international railway station in London, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe and beyond have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Italian police officers patrol Leonardo Da Vinci airport in Fiumicino, near Rome, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe and beyond have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A Italian police dog sniffs passengers' luggage at Leonardo Da Vinci airport in Fiumicino, near Rome, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe and beyond have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A member of the Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK) patrols the area in front of the Parliament in downtown Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Hungary raised its terrorism awareness level to grade 2 after a series of attacks in Brussels. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)
German police officers guard a terminal of the airportthe in Frankfurt, Germany, during tighter security measures Tuesday, March 22, 2016, when various explosions hit the Belgian capital Brussels killing several people. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK) personnel arrive with an APC vehicle at the parking facility of the Liszt Ferenc International Airport in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Hungary raised its terrorism awareness level to grade 2 after a series of attacks in Brussels. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)
French soldier patrols in Gare De Lyon railway station in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities are tightening security at airports and on the streets of European cities after attacks on the Brussels airport and subways system that killed at least one person and injured many others. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French soldiers patrol in the subway entrance station in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities are tightening security at airports and on the streets of European cities after attacks on the Brussels airport and subways system that killed at least one person and injured many others. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police officers patrol inside a terminal of the airport during tighter security measures in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Explosions, at least one likely caused by a suicide bomber, rocked the Brussels airport and subway system Tuesday, prompting a lockdown of the Belgian capital and heightened security across Europe.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Tourist police officers patrol the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/ Pavel Golovkin)
Passengers queue at a check in area of the Milan's Malpensa international airport, in Busto Arsizio, Italy, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities in Europe have tightened security at airports, on subways, at the borders and on city streets after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
PARIS, March 22, 2016-- Police officers patrol at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, capital of France, March 22, 2016. Security has been beefed up in France with 1,600 police officers deployed at airports, railway stations and bus stations since the attacks on Brussels Tuesday. (Xinhua/Theo Duval via Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - MARCH 22: Hungarian counter-terrorism agents secure the Liszt Ferenc International Airport in Budapest, Hungary on March 22, 2016 following high level security alert following the morning explosions in Brussels. At least 34 people were killed and more than 100 injured in multiple explosions at an airport and metro station in Brussels on today's morning. (Photo by Arpad Kurucz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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