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Brussels suspect charged, confesses involvement in airport attack
This is major news for investigators.
A suspect has reportedly admitted his involvement in the Brussels terror attacks.
Mohamed Abrini was detained on Friday and is said to have confessed to being the “man in the hat” that authorities had been seeking since the incident took place on March 22. Following the three explosions that killed 35 and injured hundreds, Belgian police released a photo of a man who was wearing a black hat, along with three other suspects.
Investigators were still seeking information when they arrested Abrini. On Saturday, he reportedly provided his confession. According to a statement released by Belgium’s Federal Prosecution Office, “After being confronted with the results of the different expert examinations, he [Abrini] confessed his presence at the crime scene.”
Abrini reportedly dropped off a bag of explosives at the airport, which failed to detonate and was discovered by authorities following the attacks. He may have reportedly been involved in the fabrication of suicide vests as well.
The Belgian-Moroccan man went on to state that he had reportedly disposed of identifying garments. He allegedly threw away his vest and reportedly sold the infamous black hat.
Abrini is said to have known suspects Salah and Brahim Abdeslam since childhood, the latter of whom was involved in the Paris attacks as a suicide bomber. Salah, who had reportedly also been involved in the Paris attack, was detained four days prior to the Brussels attacks.
Abrini’s connections appear to further implicate just how closely related such terrorist incidents may be. Detaining a key suspect who appears willing to talk may potentially help authorities as they continue to investigate what happened in Brussels.
Speaking with the New York Times, former French intelligence officer Claude Moniquet stated that such a development may hopefully effectively end the search for suspects in both the Brussels and Paris terrorist attacks as information continues to emerge.
Abrini was arrested on Friday along with three other men who were reportedly involved in the Brussels attacks: Osama Krayem, whom prosectors state was reportedly involved in the Maelbeek station explosion, as well as Herve B. M. and Bilal E.M., both of whom allegedly aided Abrini and Krayem in the attacks.
The men are being charged with “activities of a terrorist group,” as well as participation in “terrorist murders.”
H/T New York Times
A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.