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    Ripoll Imam came to Belgium several times

    © Belga
    Hans Bonte is pressing for swift investigations as to when the Imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, was in Belgium and what he was doing here.
    © Belga

    The Spanish Imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, who is suspected of masterminding the Barcelona and Cambrils attack did not, it turns out, only stay in Belgium between January and March 2016. VRT indicated on Tuesday that he came several times to Belgium, as well as France. It bases this upon comments made by the Mayor of Vilvorde, and confirmed to the Belga press agency. Hans Bonte, the Mayor of Vilvorde, said, “We need to establish as quickly as possible with whom he came into contact and how he was able to, using such a profile, travel worry-free through Europe.”

    We learned at the beginning of the inquiry that Imam Es Satty stayed for three months in Belgium, in the Vilvorde region, between January and March 2016, and had attended the Youssef mosque in Diegem. He had been excluded from the mosque as he was not able to provide a valid certificate of good conduct. Hans Bonte considered, “Several sources are saying that it appears that the Imam travelled to Belgium and France after March 2016. We need to know both where he stayed and with whom he had contact.”

    As indicated, the Mayor also wonders how the Imam was able to travel worry-free in Europe. “He had already been sentenced and there was proof that he had contact with people involved in the previous attacks. It appears that the Spanish authorities also wanted to deport him during his period in Spain. There are still many unanswered questions.”

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times