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Brussels bombings suspect Abrini charged over Paris attacks

By Andrew V. Pestano
Brussels bombings suspect Abrini charged over Paris attacks
Mohamed Abrini, who confessed to being the man on the far right wearing a hat and glasses prior to the Brussels bombings in March, has been charged by French judicial authorities for his alleged role in the November 2015 Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State. Photo courtesy of Brussels Police

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Mohamed Abrini, a suspect in the Islamic State's 2016 Brussels bombings, has been formally charged for his alleged role in the 2015 Paris attacks.

Federal prosecutors in Belgium on Monday said they handed over Abrini to French officials for a day. Abrini's lawyer, Emmanuel Pierrat, said he was charged by French authorities.

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"In the framework of the investigation related to the attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, Mohamed Abrini was surrendered to the French judicial authorities for a period of one day," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

At least 130 people died in the Islamic State's coordinated attacks in Paris in November 2015.

A few months later on March 22, 2016, three suicide bombers detonated devices at a Brussels airport and subway station, killing at least 32 people. Abrini was seen in video surveillance footage alongside the suicide bombers while wearing a hat and glasses. After his capture in April, he confessed to being the "man in the hat."

Pierrat said Abrini being investigated in both France and Belgium could lead to legal complications.

Abrini grew up in Brussels' Molenbeek neighborhood along with Salah Abdeslam, the lone survivor accused of taking part in the Paris attacks. Abrini was spotted driving Abdeslam north of Paris two days before the Paris attacks.

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Abrini's fingerprints and DNA were also found in two IS safe houses in Brussels and inside a car used in the Paris attacks, officials said.

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