Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam charged over Brussels shootout

Lawyer of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam announces that he has been charged over deadly shootout with police officers which took place just days before Brussels attacks

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

People stand by the makeshift memorial on the Place de la Bourse in Brussels during the peaceful march "#Tousensemble - #Sameneen" against terrorism and hate on April 17, 2016.

Key Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam has been charged over a deadly shootout with police in Brussels, which took place a week before the suicide bombings in the Belgian capital, his lawyer said on Thursday.

"He has been charged with attempted murder either alone or jointly" over the gunbattle at an apartment in the Forest district of Brussels on March 15, lawyer Sven Mary.

An Algerian suspect was killed and four police officers were wounded in the shootout, which led to Abdeslam's arrest three days later in the Molenbeek area of Brussels after a four-month European manhunt.

Abdeslam, 26, is due to be extradited to France in the coming days over the November Paris attacks. He is believed to be the last surviving member of the terror squad that killed 130 people.

Belgian police have also tried to question him over his links to the three suicide bombers who struck Brussels airport and metro on March 22, killing 32 people and injuring hundreds.

DAESH terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility for both the Brussels and Paris attacks.

Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon said his country "made a mistake" by not heeding Turkey's warnings regarding Brussels metro station suicide bomber Ibrahim El Bakraoui being a foreign terrorist fighter.

Lawyer Mary said “We won't discuss that, I won't comment," when asked if Abdeslam admitted to being present at the Forest shootout.

Abdeslam will appear before a Belgian court again on April 28 and his extradition to France will come "perhaps two days after his court appearance," Mary added.

Abdeslam and alleged Paris accomplice Mohamed Abrini, who was also charged over the Brussels attacks, were moved to different jails in Belgium last week.

31-year-old Abrini, has confessed to being "the man in the hat" caught on video with suicide bombers at Brussels airport.

Abrini was also found to be linked to the November 13 Paris attacks after being caught on video at a motorway gas station with Abdeslam.

TRTWorld and agencies