News / Europe

    Prosecutor: Top Suspect in Paris Attack Planned Suicide, Changed Mind

    Belgian police officers secure an access to the federal police headquarters in Brussels, March 19, 2016, after Salah Abdeslam, the most-wanted fugitive from November's Paris attacks, was arrested after a shootout with police in Brussels on Friday.
    Belgian police officers secure an access to the federal police headquarters in Brussels, March 19, 2016, after Salah Abdeslam, the most-wanted fugitive from November's Paris attacks, was arrested after a shootout with police in Brussels on Friday.
    VOA News

    A French prosecutor said Saturday that the top suspect in the November terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris planned to blow himself up outside a soccer stadium, but changed his mind.

    Salah Abdeslam was released from a Brussels hospital and taken to prison Saturday, a day after he and a suspected accomplice were shot during the police raid that captured them.

    French prosecutor Francios Molins said Abdeslam's statement that he had backed down from killing himself at the stadium had to be taken with caution. He said Abdeslam was seen in a section of Paris that was not attacked that night.

    Abdeslam's lawyer, Sven Mary, said his client was cooperating with Belgian police but would fight extradition to France.

    The international police agency Interpol urged governments to be extra vigilant at their borders, saying Abdeslam's accomplices might try to flee Europe.

    Interpol recommended that border control agents look out for stolen passports and faked travel documents.

    French President Francois Hollande said the investigation revealed that many more people were involved in the attacks than authorities originally believed. He said the network spanned several countries.

    After an emergency defense council meeting in Paris on Saturday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called Abdeslam's capture an important blow against Islamic State in Europe.

    WATCH: Video footage of Salah Abdeslam's capture in Brussels

    Paris Attacks Suspect Captured Alive in Belgian Raidi
    X
    March 18, 2016 8:51 PM
    The top suspect linked to the November 13 terror attacks in France has been arrested in Belgium, a Belgian minister said Salah Abdeslam was arrested by Belgian police during a raid Friday in the Molenbeek area of Brussels.

    "Currently in police custody with four individuals, Salah Abdeslam will have to answer to French justice for his acts," Cazeneuve said. "The demand for justice is what all the families of the victims are waiting for, along with all other French citizens. The government is determined to get to the bottom of what happened."

    He said the threat level in France remained extremely high and the country “must maintain the vigilance in proportion to the threat level."

    Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called Friday's capture of Abdeslam "an important result in the battle for democracy."

    Police captured Abdeslam in the Molenbeek area of Brussels after a four-month manhunt. Three other people were arrested during Friday’s raid. Prosecutors identified them as members of a family that had hid Abdeslam.

    Abdeslam's exact whereabouts between the November 13 terror attack and this week were unclear. But police became certain he was in Brussels when they found evidence during a raid on another house while hunting for another suspect.

    Abdeslam is suspected of helping others plot the attacks in Paris, including renting rooms for the terrorists and buying explosives.

    Multiple targets were struck, including a concert hall, cafes and the soccer stadium.

    Islamic State claimed responsibility, and Abdeslam's brother was among the suicide bombers. The attacks were prepared and coordinated, in part, in Brussels.

    Eleven people have been arrested and charged in Belgium in connection with the killings. Eight are behind bars.

    This combination of photos shows Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected mastermind of the November 13, 2015, Paris attacks, on the left, and suspect Salah Abdeslam, who remains at large. (2nd R),
    This combination of photos shows Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected mastermind of the November 13, 2015, Paris attacks, on the left, and suspect Salah Abdeslam, who remains at large. (2nd R),

    Paris Assailants, Suspects Where Are They Now?

    Status: Captured

    Name: Salah Abdeslam
    Background: French national born in Belgium
    Investigation: Considered eighth attacker; believed to be driver of car outside the Bataclan

    Status: Dead

    Name: Abdelhamid Abaaoud
    Background: Belgian of Moroccan origin
    Investigation: Ringleader of Paris attacks

    Name: Ibrahim Abdeslam
    Background: French citizen
    Investigation: Suicide bomber at cafe on Boulevard Voltaire; brother of Salah Abdeslam

    Name: Samy Amimour
    Background: Born in Paris
    Investigation: One of three suicide bombers at Bataclan concert hall

    Name: Bilal Hadfi
    Status: Dead
    Background: Nationality unknown, living in Belgium prior to attacks
    Investigation: One of three suicide bombers at soccer stadium

    Name: Ismael Omar Mostefai
    Background: Chartres, France
    Investigation: Suicide bomber at Bataclan concert hall

    Name: Ahmad al Muhammad (falsified name)
    Background: Unknown; emergency passport said he was from Syria
    Investigation: Suicide bomber at soccer stadium; emergency passport found on his body

    Name: Unknown
    Background: Unknown
    Investigation: Suicide bomber at soccer stadium; carried falsified Turkish passport

    Name: Unknown
    Background: Unknown
    Investigation: Suicide bomber at Bataclan concert hall; has not yet been identified

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora