5 arrested in connection with attacks in Paris and Brussels
PUBLISHED Fri, April 08, 2016 - 4:19pm EDT
Five people, including Paris attacks fugitive Mohamed Abrini, have been arrested in Brussels in connection with the Paris and Brussels attacks, Belgian prosecutors say. Investigators are now working to determine whether Abrini was the so-called 'man in the hat'. (more)
Abrini had being sought since November when he was found to have links to Paris attacks fugitive Salah Abdeslam, who was caught in Belgium just days before the deadly Brussels attacks. Abrini's fingerprints have since been found in safehouses and a car used during the Paris attacks.
The federal prosecutor’s office in Belgium confirmed that Abrini and two other people were arrested in Anderlecht near Brussels on Friday afternoon. Osama K., who is also known as Naim Al Ahmed, and Herve B.M., were arrested elsewhere in Brussels in connection with the Paris attacks.
The arrests came amidst increasing speculation that Abrini may have been the third would-be bomber at Brussels Airport - the so-called 'man in the hat' - but prosecutors emphasized on Friday that investigators are still trying to determine whether that is the case.
Investigators are also working to determine whether Osama K., whose last name has not yet been released, could have been the second person who was seen at the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels with suicide bomber El Bakraoui, who blew himself up just a short time later.
"Moreover, this second person was filmed at the City 2 shopping mall in Brussels, when buying bags that were used later in the attacks in Brussels National Airport," the prosecutor's office said. It provided no information about the arrests of the other three people.
A total of 35 people, including three attackers, were killed on the morning of March 22 when suicide bombers attacked Brussels Airport and the Maalbeek metro station. A third would-be suicide bomber, the so-called man in the hat, was carrying the largest bomb but fled the busy airport without setting it off.
The attacks in Brussels were linked to the same group of that carried out the attacks in Paris in November, killing 130 people and injuring hundreds more. During those attacks, Islamic State (ISIS) members opened fire at restaurants and a theater while suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a stadium.
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Video: James Valles reporting (Twitter: @jamesvalles)
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Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini, who was arrested in Brussels on Friday, has admitted to being the third would-be suicide bomber at Brussels Airport, prosecutors say. He is now facing multiple terrorism-related charges. (more) Read More