The Key Remaining Paris Attacks Suspect Has Finally Been Arrested In Belgium
According to the AP, French authorities have confirmed that on Friday, April 8, yet another key remaining Paris attack suspect has been arrested in Belgium ― his name is Mohamed Abrini, and he's reportedly in his early 30s. Abrini had been the subject of a manhunt ever since the deadly terrorist attacks on the French capital, which left 130 people dead, and more than 300 more injured. Abrini is pictured on security camera footage from a gas station in Resson just two days before the attack, alongside Saleh Abdeslam, the suspect who was apprehended in Belgium last month.
And just like Abdeslam, Abrini was found in the Belgian capital of Brussels, the site of last month's harrowing terrorist attacks. With bombings at the city's airport and inside its metro system killing more than 30 people and injuring hundreds more in the days following Abdeslam's arrest, the threats faced by Belgium and its government were laid painfully bare. The country drew criticism from some unnamed U.S. officials, who anonymously trashed Belgium's counter-terrorism efforts and security forces.
Now, with news of Abrini's arrest, Belgian authorities will likely have to be at their most attentive. It was right after the arrest of Abdeslam that the Brussels attacks were executed, and with another high-profile suspect now in custody, it'll be crucial for authorities to protect the city from any more violent backlash.
As CNN's Greg Botelho detailed on Friday, Abrini's alleged involvement in the attacks is bolstered by that aforementioned security footage, which showed him driving a Renault Cilo, the same car that was used in Paris just days later. There have also been allegations in the media, as VICE News notes, that Abrini might be the hitherto undiscovered third Brussels bomber ― a man wearing a white jacket and a hat who was pictured at the airport terminal before the two suicide bombs went off, and who seemingly fled the scene leaving a third bomb undetonated. That, however, is unconfirmed, and will be for European investigators to sort out now that he's in custody.
So far, there have been no public statements regarding possible extradition, but that'll almost surely be a topic of discussion in the days to come. If authorities indeed ultimately believe that Abrini was both involved in the Brussels and Paris bombings, then that could complicate things somewhat, as both France and Belgium could lay claim to wanting to prosecute him. There's no question that extradition will be on-the-table, however ― when Abdeslam was arrested in March, it was under a European arrest warrant, which allows for an expedited extradition process, and back in November, the same type of warrant was issued for Abrini.