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Belgium approves extradition of 'man in hat' terror suspect

A Belgian court has approved the transfer of a key suspect in the "Islamic State"-claimed Paris terror attacks to France. But the process could take time due to his involvement in the Brussels terror attacks.

Belgian federal prosecutors on Thursday announced the approval of terror suspect Mohamed Abrini's extradition to France, which suspects his involvement in the Paris terror attacks last year. The attacks had left 130 people dead.

A court in Brussels accepted the European arrest warrant issued last week against Abrini, known as the "man in the hat" suspect involved in the Brussels terror attacks in March.

However, the court remanded the terror suspect for one month due to his involvement in the Brussels airport and metro attacks, which left at least 32 people dead and hundreds more injured.

"The carrying out of the (European arrest warrant) will certainly not be done immediately. The timeline is not at all fixed," a spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Abrini could also be questioned in Belgium by French investigators, the spokesman added.

"Currently, no additional information will be given regarding the further proceedings," the spokesman said.

In April, Belgium extradited Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the Paris and Brussels attacks.

Abrini was linked to Abdeslam when a video emerged of them stopping at a highway gas station on their way to the French capital.

Some 300 Belgian nationals have left the country to fight alongside militant groups in Syria, including the self-declared "Islamic State."

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ls/kms (AFP, dpa)

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