Souhaib El Abdi, one of 2 Belgian brothers arrested in France one day after the dismantling of a terrorist cell planning attacks in Belgium, was handed over to Belgian authorities, revealed the federal prosecutor on Tuesday, thus confirming the information published in newspapers from the Sudpresse group and Nieuwsblad. The 25-year-old has been charged and will appear in front of the Council Chamber in Brussels in coming days. His brother Ismael El Abdi, 32, was handed over to Belgium in January and will appear in front of the Council Chamber on Friday. Ismael and Souhaib El Abdi fled after hearing of the federal police raid on a house in Verviers where 3 alleged terrorists were hiding. The 2 were caught that same night in Modane, near the Italian border, and Belgium issued an arrest warrant against them. Ismael agreed to be handed over but his brother Souhaib initially resisted his transfer before finally relenting on February 4th.
At first Ismael claimed that on the day of the police operation in Verviers, his brother contacted him so they could go and pick up a second-hand car together in Genoa (Italy). However his smart phone revealed he had been researching the Daesh group. He has since recanted.
His brother, Souhaib El Abdi, is considered a key figure in the investigation and allegedly provided significant logistical support to the dismantled Verviers cell.