Belgian suicide bomber changed his mind during Paris attacks
The main suspect in last November’s deadly attacks in Paris says he initially “wanted to blow himself up” but changed his mind.
Salah Abdeslam, who was captured in the Belgian capital Brussels on Friday, was basically going for a suicide bombing outside the Stade de France on November 13, 2015, but backed out, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins quoted him as saying to his interrogators on Saturday.
Molins, however, warned during the press conference in Paris that the suspect’s statement should be “taken cautiously.”
A suicide vest was spotted days after the attack at an area where he could have been, according to mobile phone signals.
After his detention following the raid in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, the suspect was charged with “terrorist murder” for his role during the assaults.
French President Francois Hollande has said that the Belgian national should be transferred to France as quickly as possible to face prosecution there.
According to his lawyer, Sven Mary, the 26-year-old man is “collaborating” with Belgian authorities and does not want to be extradited to France.
“I can already tell you that we will oppose his extradition,” Mary told reporters.
Abdeslam was shot in the leg during the arrest and taken a maximum security prison in the northwestern Belgian city of Bruges.
According to the French justice ministry, 90 days is the maximum amount of time it would take for Abdeslam’s transfer.
Alexandre Plantevin, a former anti-terrorist judge, also told the French media that it was “not for Abdeslam to decide” about this and “he will appear before a French judge” anyway.
During the deadly attacks, three explosive vests were detonated outside the Stade de France, where the president was watching a friendly between France and Germany.
Abdeslam is believed to also be the one who dropped off the three bombers at the location by a black Renault Clio later found abandoned.
“Salah Abdeslam is a key actor in the attacks in Paris and St Denis (Stade de France). He had a central role in the make-up of the commandos and in the logistical planning of the November 13 attacks,” Molins said.
Abdeslam was also implicated in transferring the Takfiri terrorists affiliated with Daesh to Belgium through the Balkan route.
The terrorists who have been wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq later claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Abdeslam is the only surviving member of a 10-strong cell.
Apart from the football stadium, some bars, restaurants and the Bataclan concert hall were also attacked, which left a total of 130 people dead.