A man suspected of helping plan the November terror attacks in Paris was wounded and detained by police in Belgium on Friday, and authorities officially charged suspect Salah Abdeslam and another man who was using two aliases “with participation in terrorist murder” and in the activities of a terrorist organization.
Two others who had been implicated in sheltering Abdeslam were released Saturday by police, even though one of them was charged with hiding criminals.
Three other suspects were also picked up during Friday’s police raid in Brussels that finally nabbed Abdeslam after his four-month fugitive run following the Nov. 13 attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris. The prosecutor’s office also charged one of them with “participation in the activities of a terrorist organization and the hiding of criminals.”
Abdeslam was apprehended during a police raid in Brussels in the Molenbeek neighborhood, where many of the Paris attackers lived.
The lawyer for Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam says his client will fight efforts to extradite him to France.
Lawyer Sven Mary says “we will refuse the extradition.” The lawyer spoke to journalists after he and Abdeslam met Saturday with a Belgian investigating magistrate who will decide whether to issue a formal arrest warrant against Abdeslam.
Belgian prosecutors said earlier they are confident the suspect will be extradited to France.
Officials were led to Abdeslam after finding his fingerprints in a Brussels apartment on Tuesday, though it was unknown how old the prints were.
At least 129 people were killed and 352 were injured in attacks that unfolded across Paris on Nov. 13 in the deadliest violence the city has seen since World War II.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
An online statement from the terror group said eight militants armed with explosive belts and automatic weapons attacked carefully chosen targets in the “capital of adultery and vice.”
The attacks focused on a soccer stadium where France was playing Germany, and the Bataclan concert hall, where an American rock band was playing, and “hundreds of apostates were attending an adulterous party.”
The statement said France and its supporters “will remain at the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State.”
“The stench of death will not leave their noses as long as they remain at the forefront of the Crusaders’ campaign, dare to curse our prophet, boast of a war on Islam in France, and strike Muslims in the lands of the caliphate with warplanes that were of no use to them in the streets and rotten alleys of Paris,” it said.
The presumed mastermind behind the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed days later in a hail of bullets and explosions.
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