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Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam couldn’t blow himself up, says brother

Salah Abdeslam, the Paris attacks suspect who was arrested in Brussels last month, refused to blow himself up on the day of the attacks, his brother told French news channel BFM TV.

world Updated: Apr 02, 2016 20:31 IST
Paris attacks

An undated handout image made available by Belgium Federal Police of Salah Abdeslam, arrested in connection to the November 13 attacks in Pari.(AP File Photo)

Salah Abdeslam, the Paris attacks suspect who was arrested in Brussels last month, refused to blow himself up on the day of the attacks, his brother Mohamed told French news channel BFM TV.

Abdeslam, who will be extradited to France, has renewed an offer to cooperate with French authorities investigating the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people, his lawyer said this week.

“There would have been more victims had I done it,” Salah Abdeslam told his brother. “Luckily, I couldn’t go through with it.”

After his arrest in Brussels on March 18, Abdeslam answered some investigators’ questions but then exercised his right to silence following the suicide bombings in Brussels on March 22 that killed more than 30 people.

Investigators believe the attacks in Paris and Brussels were carried out by militants from the same Islamic State network.

Abdeslam, the sole surviving suspect in the Paris attacks, was arrested in Brussels on March 18 after four months on the run as Europe’s most wanted man.

Read | Who is Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam?

Four days after he was arrested, the Belgian capital was struck by coordinated Islamic State bombings at the airport and a metro station carried out by suicide attackers with links to Abdeslam and the Paris attacks cell.

Abdeslam’s arrest was considered a rare success in Belgium’s anti-terror fight although he was found within a short distance of his family home in the Molenbeek district of Brussels.

He is believed to have acted as a logistics coordinator for the Paris attacks and has told investigators he was meant to carry out a suicide bombing at the Stade de France stadium but backed out.

Read | Brussels airport to reopen, attacks suspect Abdeslam set to cooperate