Paris attacks: Two new suspects questioned, one arrested

Friday, 25 May 2018 16:00
Paris attacks: Two new suspects questioned, one arrested © Belga
Two new suspects have been questioned in connection with the Paris attacks of the 13th of November 2015 and one of them placed under arrest, the Office of the Federal Public Prosecutor said on Friday.
One of the two, Ayoub Bazarouj, had already been questioned in connection with the same case and then released by the Indictment Division. He is suspected of participating in the activities of a terrorist group and a warrant for his arrest was again issued on Wednesday.

The second suspect, Soufiane Al Aroub (26), was charged on the same grounds, then conditionally released.

Bazarouj had been held for questioning on the 30th of December 2016 at Chausée de Gandin Molenbeek-Saint-Jean. The federal judicial police had conducted a search simultaneously at his home on 47 Rue Delaunoy, also in Molenbeek. The apartment had already been searched by the federal judicial police on the 6th of November 2016, three days after the Paris attacks, while police were looking for Salah Abdeslam. At the time, the Office of the Federal Prosecutor had solid clues that Abdeslam was living or had lived in the apartment and it had charged Bazarouj with participating in the activities of a terrorist group, in connection with the attacks committed in Paris on the 13th of November 2015.

However, three weeks later, the Indictment Division released him for lack of sufficient evidence. On Wednesday, Ayoub Bazarouj was again held for questioning.

According to various media, he is suspected of creating Facebook and Whatsapp accounts for his brother, Youssef Bazarouj, who left to go and fight in Syria, where he became the right-hand man of Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Oussama Atar. Both Abaaoud and Atar are thought to have played a decisive role in the Paris attacks.

Ayoub Bazarouj was also reportedly in contact with the El Bakraoui brothers, who blew themselves up in the attacks committed on 22 March 2016 in Brussels and at Brussels Airport. The same Facebook account was said to have been used to prepare the trip to Syria of Mohamed Abrini, also suspected of involvement in the 22nd of March attacks.

Bazarouj is suspected of helping Salah Abdeslam while he was on the run. He was reportedly in contact with Abid Aberkan, in whose apartment Abdeslam was finally caught on the 18th of March 2016. Bazarouj has denied any involvement in these matters and maintains that he had opened the Facebook and WhatsApp accounts solely to remain in contact with his brother.

Oscar Schneider
The Brussels Times

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