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'Man in the Hat' Brussels Bombing Suspect Taken to France to Face Charges

  • VOA News

FILE - Belgian Army soldiers patrol during a court hearing for suspect Mohamed Abrini, a suspect in the Paris and Brussels attacks, that were claimed by the Islamic State organization, at the Court of Appeals in Brussels.

Belgium has sent "man in the hat" airport bombing suspect Mohamed Abrini to France to face charges in connection with the deadly 2015 Paris terror attacks .

Abrini was turned over to the French for a day to be indicted in the coordinated gun and bomb attacks that killed 130 people and injured hundreds of others on November 13, 2015.

Two days before the assault on the French capital, surveillance cameras showed Abrini at a gas station on a highway to Paris, alongside Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to be the only direct participant to have survived the Paris attacks.

Abdeslam fled and was arrested in Belgium on March 18, 2016, four days before suicide bombers struck the Brussels airport and Maelbrook metro station, killing 32 people and wounding scores of others.

In this Belgian Federal Police hand out picture made available April 7, 2016 the third suspect, of the recent attack on Brussels airport is shown, indicated in box, during his escape from the airport after the blasts.
In this Belgian Federal Police hand out picture made available April 7, 2016 the third suspect, of the recent attack on Brussels airport is shown, indicated in box, during his escape from the airport after the blasts.

On the day of the Brussels attacks, Abrini was seen on security cameras walking through the airport, wearing a hat. Authorities say he fled the scene without detonating a bomb in his suitcase. He was arrested in April.

Belgian prosecutors have said evidence suggests the Brussels assailants wanted to strike France again, but later switched their target to the Belgian capital as the Paris investigation gained momentum.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris and Brussels.

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