Two Paris attacks suspects charged after being handed to France

French anti-terror

French anti-terror magistrates Wednesday charged two men believed to have helped a key suspect in the November 13 Paris attacks flee to Brussels. Mohamed Amri and Ali Oulkadi are suspected of helping Salah Abdeslam in the crucial hours after massacre, which left 130 dead and hundreds wounded.

The pair allegedly worked with Hamza Attou, who has already been extradited to France from Belgium.

“Within the framework of the Paris attacks of November 2015, Mohammed A. and Ali O. have been surrendered to the French authorities today,” a Belgian statement said earlier Wednesday, referring to the men only by their initials.

Amri — a 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin — and Attou are suspected of accompanying Abdeslam back to Brussels, getting him past three police checks in France before crossing the border into Belgium.

Oulkadi, a 31-year-old French national, is thought to have then driven Abdeslam across Brussels on November 14, the last place the top suspect was traced before his capture in the Belgian capital four months later.

Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the 10-man jihadist team that attacked Paris, was extradited to France in April.

The French magistrates charged the men with having “terrorist” links, a judicial source said.

Attou told Belgian investigators that Abdeslam called him and Amri late on November 13 to ask them to come for him “because he had had an accident,” according to a source close to the case.

He claimed that they did not know of Abdeslam’s involvement in the attacks until after they joined him in Paris.

The source quoted Attou as recounting that Abdeslam said he was “the sole survivor of these attacks” and that “they would pay for my brother’s death”.

Abdeslam’s brother Brahim blew himself up outside a Paris cafe during the attacks.

Once in Brussels, Attou said he took Abdeslam to a market to buy new clothes and to get a haircut before taking him to Oulkadi, who showed him to a safe house in the city’s Schaerbeek area.

Amri and Attou were arrested on November 14 in Brussels’ Molenbeek district — where Abdeslam grew up — and charged in Belgium.

The author: Michel DEURINCK

Michel Deurinck, born in Brussels in 1950, started his career in the Belgian civil service, dedicating over 30 years to public service. Upon retirement, he pursued his passion for journalism. Transitioning into this new field, he quickly gained recognition for his insightful reporting on politics and culture. Deurinck's balanced and thoughtful approach to journalism has made him a respected figure in Belgian media.

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