Prime ISIS Paris terror mastermind Salah Abdeslam, arrested in Brussels last Friday, was charged on Saturday with terrorism offenses in connection with the attacks on November 13.
Abdelslam has been connected with the attack as a key member of the ISIS terror organization that attacked the French capital in a multi-site operation whose ripple effect still reaches out.
Abdeslam told police during questioning he was supposed to blow himself up – as did others – at the Stade de France.
But at the last minute, he told interrogators he had second thoughts and backed out.
The French national, born to Moroccan parents in Belgium, once ran a bar with his brother Brahim in Molenbeek, who also helped in the attacks. But it was Abdeslam who rented the cars involved in the attacks and booked the hotel rooms used by the operatives.
French prosecutor Francois Molins said at a news conference in Paris on Saturday the would-be bomber’s claims raise further questions about the scope of the operation.
Suicide bombers blew themselves near the national stadium, operatives opened fire on bars and restaurants, and terrorists were firing Kalashnikov assault rifles into a rock concert at the Bataclan concert hall that night.
He was shot and injured in a raid by anti-terrorism police in the Molenbeek area of Brussels last year, where he grew up. But Abdeslam still managed to stay hidden, according to the British Guardian newspaper.
Three suspects were arrested altogether, but Abdeslam would be extradited to France. The probe is wide and ongoing because the network is “very large in Belgium, France and other European countries,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters on Friday.
“We know there are links which always lead us to Syria, where the Da’esh (ISIS) extremists planned these attacks.”Hana Levi Julian