Brussels attackers had planned second attack on Paris

Belgian prosecutors say perpetrators of recent terror attacks on Brussels was plotting second attack on Paris

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt looks at CCTV images of a suspect in the attack which took place at the Brussels international airport of Zaventem, projected on a screen during a news conference in Brussels, Belgium April 7, 2016.

The planners behind the March 22 bombings in Brussels which killed 32 people had initially planned to hit France for a second time but struck closer to home as investigators made arrests among key suspects, Belgian prosecutors said on Sunday.

Investigations into the Nov. 13 Paris attacks which killed 130 people showed many of the attackers lived in Belgium, including key suspects Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Abrini who evaded police for four months after November's killings.

Abrini was arrested on Friday and admitted to having participated in the Brussels airport bombings. He has been charged with terrorist murders, prosecutors said.

"Numerous elements in the investigation have shown that the terrorist group initially had the intention to strike in France again," Belgium's federal prosecutor said in a statement.

The attackers decided to hit nearby targets when Belgian investigators closed in on them. Abdeslam, suspected of being involved in the Paris attacks, was arrested on the Friday before the Brussels bombings.

"Surprised by the speed of progress in the investigation, they took the decision to strike in Brussels," the prosecutor's statement said.

TRTWorld, Reuters