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French judges order trial for 20 suspects linked to 2015 Paris attacks

In this photo from November 13, 2019, a wreath and flowers surround a commemorative plaque set outside the Bataclan concert venue during ceremonies across Paris marking the fourth anniversary of the November 2015 terror attacks that killed 130 people.
In this photo from November 13, 2019, a wreath and flowers surround a commemorative plaque set outside the Bataclan concert venue during ceremonies across Paris marking the fourth anniversary of the November 2015 terror attacks that killed 130 people. © Stephane de Sakutin, AFP

French judges have ordered 20 people to stand trial over the coordinated attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015, including Salah Abdeslam, the only suspected assailant still alive, prosecutors said Monday.

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The move comes after investigators wrapped up their vast inquiry into the murderous attacks claimed by the Islamic State group, part of a wave of jihadist strikes on French soil over the past five years.

No date was announced for the trial, which will include 1,765 civil plaintiffs, many of them relatives of victims.

A total of 130 people died in the November 13, 2015 assaults by 10 heavily armed gunmen who attacked during a football match at the national stadium outside Paris, and then bars and restaurants in the capital as well as the Bataclan concert hall.

All of the attackers detonated their explosive vests or were killed by police except Abdeslam, who was arrested in Belgium four months later.

He has refused to cooperate with investigators and remains in solitary confinement.

Anti-terror prosecutors last November charged 14 people currently in prison or under judicial supervision, with six others sought by international arrest warrants.

But at least three of those wanted are believed dead, including Oussama Atar, a Belgian-Moroccan citizen who is thought to have helped orchestrate the attack from Raqqa, the former capital of the Islamic State group's so-called "caliphate" in Syria.

Atar was reportedly killed in early 2018, but his death has not been officially confirmed.

The other suspects facing trial have been charged with helping to organise or finance the attacks, or helping the gunmen to flee.

The same jihadist cell blamed for the Paris attacks is believed to also have struck the airport and metro system of Brussels in March 2016, killing 32 people.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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