Abdeslam played key role in Paris attacks, fellow suspect says: media

Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in last year's terrorist attacks in Paris, played a far larger role than he has indicated, fellow detainee Mohamed Abrini told investigators, according to Belgian media.

Abdeslam, a 26-year-old Frenchman, was arrested in Brussels in March in connection with the November 13 attacks in Paris, in which 130 people died in suicide bombings and shootings across the French capital.

Days after Abdeslam's arrest, suicide bombers in Brussels killed more than 30 people. Abrini was arrested in relation to these attacks, but has also been linked to the Paris perpetrators.

Abdeslam had brought people together from across Europe ahead of the Paris attacks, Abrini told Belgian investigators following his arrest, the VTM Nieuws broadcaster reported Monday.

"What I know of Salah [Abdeslam] is that he went to collect almost all the people implicated in the attacks on Paris and who came from Syria. I know that Salah went to find these people and placed them in hideouts," Abrini reportedly said.

"I know because I slept in an apartment with them; you hear a lot that way," he added.

Abdeslam has been extradited to France, where he remained silent during an initial hearing.

Abrini - who confessed to being a surviving Brussels attacker - has also been cleared for trial in France, but remains in Belgian custody.

Abrini's lawyer Stanislas Eskenazi told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF on Tuesday that his client's statements are hypotheses that remain to be confirmed or denied by further investigation. He also criticized the breach of confidence that led to their release.

Last update: Tue, 05/07/2016 - 11:41

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