Investigators found crates’ worth of disposable cellphones, used and discarded after being meticulously scoured of email data. All around Paris, they found traces of consistent and improved bomb-making materials. And they began sketching in the details of a multilayered terrorist attack that evaded detection or prevention until much too late.

In the immediate aftermath of the Paris terror attacks on November 13th, French investigators came face to face with the reality that they had missed the signs that the Islamic State was able to mount large and sophisticated international terrorist strikes.

Now, the arrest on Friday of Salah Abdeslam, the man investigators believe was the attacks’ logistics chief, offers a crucial opportunity to address the many unanswered questions surrounding how they were planned. Abdeslam, who was transferred on Saturday from a hospital to the Belgian federal police headquarters for questioning, is believed to be the only direct participant in the attacks who is still alive.

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Image courtesy of AP