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New suspect charged in Belgium over Paris terror attacks

AFP | A file photo of the Bataclan concert hall, one of the targets of the Nov. 13, 2015 Paris attacks.

Belgian authorities have arrested another suspect in connection with the Paris terror attacks of November 2015, charging him with participating in the activities of a terrorist group, prosecutors said Wednesday.

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The suspect is believed to have been involved in the supply of automatic rifles used in the attacks that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds of others, Belgian federal prosecutors spokesman Eric Van Duyse said.

The suspect, who was arrested before Christmas, "was charged with participating in the activities of a terrorist group," the spokesman told AFP.

Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure, which broke the news, named the suspect as Mohammed E.

It linked him to Mohammed Bakkali, the alleged logistics coordinator for the Paris attacks who was arrested in Belgium two weeks afterward and handed over to the French authorities.

Belgian investigators cite evidence that Bakkali rented at least five cars between September and November 2015 that served the jihadists who struck in Paris.

Bakkali is also suspected of having rented several apartments under a false name.

The French authorities, who are working with their Belgian counterparts, are looking at some 15 suspects in the November 13 attacks.

The Islamic State group, based in Syria and Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attacks in the French capital, which were allegedly coordinated from Brussels.

IS also claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings that killed 32 people and wounded hundreds of others in the Belgian capital in March 2016.

The same Brussels cell is alleged to have carried out both terror attacks.

The latest arrest was announced before Thursday's opening of the trial of Mehdi Nemmouche, a Frenchman who allegedly shot and killed four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014.

Investigators say Nemmouche was in Syria from 2013 to 2014, where he met Najim Laachraoui, one of the Brussels suicide bombers.

(AFP)

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