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Europe

Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam ‘to cooperate’ with French authorities

© French police picture of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-03-31

Salah Abdeslam wants to cooperate with French authorities, his lawyer said Thursday, confirming that his client wanted to be extradited from Belgium to France.

A prosecutor was set to travel to the prison in the city of Bruges where Abdeslam has been held for almost two weeks awaiting his likely extradition to France under a European arrest warrant.

 "He wants to cooperate with the French authorities," lawyer Cédric Moisse said Thursday morning ahead of a highly expected announcement over his extradition.

Abdeslam has not spoken to investigators since Brussels was hit last week by coordinated attacks at the airport and a metro station that were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Suspected of being the only Paris attacks suspect still alive, Abdeslam has links to several of those involved in the suicide bombings that killed 32 people.

He nevertheless said last week via Sven Mary, another of his lawyers, that he did not have prior knowledge of the March 22 attacks in the Belgian capital.

Backed out

Previously touted as Europe's most wanted man, the 26-year-old was captured on March 18 in Brussels after spending four months on the run following the November suicide bombings and gun attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.

He is believed to be one of the 10-member terrorist commando that carried out the attacks in and around the French capital.

The Belgian-born French citizen, who was caught unarmed after being shot in the leg in a dramatic police raid in Brussels, told interrogators he had intended to blow himself up at the Stade de France stadium near Paris, but had backed out at the last minute.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said that Abdeslam had also been planning to target Brussels.

Abdeslam has been linked to at least two of the bombers. Khalid El Bakraoui, who blew himself up at the metro, rented a flat in Brussels where Abdeslam's fingerprints were found following a raid. And the second airport bomber, Najim Laachraoui, once drove to Hungary with Abdeslam.

 (FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2016-03-31

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