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Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam will not fight extradition to France

AFP archive

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam says he didn't know about Brussels attacks and wants to return to France "as quickly as possible", his lawyer said Thursday.

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Abdeslam was summoned to appear in a Brussels court on Thursday morning after his arrest last week in the Belgian capital. His lawyer said Abdeslam is not fighting extradition to France, where he faces terrorism charges.

Abdeslam's lawyer, Sven Mary, told reporters at the courthouse that his client had asked for a one-month delay on any transfer while he studies the large dossier on him, but that Abdeslam "wants to leave for France as quickly as possible".

A helicopter circled overhead Thursday and the area was under extraordinarily heavy security, as are many parts of the Belgian capital.

France is seeking Abdeslam's extradition to face terrorism charges for his involvement in the November 13 attacks on a Paris rock concert, a stadium and cafes that killed 130 people. Several attackers were also killed.

Abdeslam, 26, a French citizen who grew up in Brussels' heavily immigrant Molenbeek neighbourhood, slipped through police nets on multiple occasions, including the day after the attacks.

Evidence is mounting that the extremists may have launched this week's attacks in Brussels in haste because they feared the authorities were closing in on them after Abdeslam's arrest.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

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