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Fugitive terror suspect from Paris attacks contacts lawyer

Belgian media has reported that Salah Abdeslam, a fugitive from the Paris attacks, has gotten in touch with a defense attorney. Amid rumors he has returned to Belgium, speculation arose that he will turn himself in.

Salah Abdeslam, a fugitive wanted in connection with the terrorist attacks in Paris, has contacted a Brussels defense lawyer, Belgium's Belga news agency reported on Thursday. Without naming its source, Belga said Abdeslam had touched base with attorney Sven Mary, who had previously said he would defend the Brussels-born French national if requested.

Abdeslam is thought to have played a key logistical role in planning the attacks. On the night of the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people in the French capital, Abdeslam called two friends in Brussels to pick him up and has been on the runever since.

Sven Mary declined to comment on the reports, but told "Le Soir" newspaper in December that he would agree to represent Abdeslam because he wanted to fight the "abuse of power" on the part of authorities who were using the Paris attacks for "surfing on fear to get even more power."

Responding to Belga's report, federal prosecutors told the agency that it was "just a rumor, which we will not react to."

Watch video 01:39

The manhunt for Salah Abdeslam

Abdeslam remains the most import fugitive in the hunt for answers after Paris. He is believed to have returned to Brussels, but several police raids have failed to discover his hiding place. The report from Belga has led to media speculation that he is preparing to turn himself in.

es/sms (Reuters, dpa)

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