Belgian prosecutors: Terror suspect Mohamed Abrini admits to being ′man in hat′ | News | DW | 09.04.2016
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Belgian prosecutors: Terror suspect Mohamed Abrini admits to being 'man in hat'

Prosecutors have charged Mohamed Abrini and three others with terrorism in connection with the Paris and Brussels attacks. Recent arrests have shed light on the "Islamic State" cell behind the two attacks.

Belgium's federal prosecutor said on Saturday that Mohamed Abrini, a suspect arrested in connection with the Paris terror attacks, admitted to being the "man in the hat" seen accompanying the two suicide bombers Ibrahim el-Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui at Brussels airport on March 22.

"We confronted him with the video evidence prepared by our special unit," a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said, according to Reuters. "He had to admit it was him."

Police were also interested in findind a jacket he had discarded after leaving the airport on the day of the terrorist attack. "Abrini explained having thrown away his jacket in a garbage bin and having sold his hat afterwards," the prosecution statement said.

Belgian prosecutors on Saturday charged four people rounded up in the past 24 hours with being part of a terrorist organization, including Mohamed Abrini.

Abrini had been on Europe's most wanted list since CCTV footage at a gas station in northern France showed him with Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam two days before the deadly November attacks, which killed 130 people.

Abdeslam was arrested two weeks ago, four days before "Islamic State" suicide bombers targeted the Brussels airport and a downtown metro stop on March 22, killing 32 people.

Abrini was arrested on Friday (Photo: Reuters)

Abrini was arrested on Friday

Terrorism charges against Swede

Prosecutors on Saturday also leveled terrorism charges against Swedish national Osman K. They confirmed that he was a second suspect present at the suicide blast in the Brussels underground carriage.

He is believed to be Osman Krayem of the Swedish city of Malmo, who had gone to fight in Syria. Krayem is alleged to have bought the bags used in the Brussels bombings and was seen at the Maalbeek metro station in downtown Brussels before suicide bomber Khalid el-Bakraoui blew himself up.

Also charged for their role in the Brussels attacks were Herve B. M., a Rwandan national, and Bilal E. M.

Two other suspects arrested since Friday were released after being questioned.

The charges follow a string of arrests that have shed light on the links between the IS terror network believed to be behind the Paris and Brussels attacks. Several of the attackers are believed to have spent time in Syria with the group, which has vowed further attacks in Europe.

"There are perhaps other cells that are still active on our territory," Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon cautioned on RTL television on Saturday.

cw/das/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)