Three 2015 terror suspects to remain in custody for another two months
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    Three 2015 terror suspects to remain in custody for another two months

    © Belga

    The Brussels Council Chamber on Wednesday extended the preventive detention of Osama Krayem (also spelled Ossama Krayem), Monir Ahmed Alaaj aka Sofien Ayari, and Mohamed Abrini by two months, under the investigation into the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, the Office of the Federal Prosecutor indicated.

    Should they appeal against this decision, they will appear before the Brussels Appeal Court’s Indictment Division in two weeks’ time.

    Abrini, a Belgian-Moroccan citizen, was arrested on 8 April 2016 at the Albert Square in Anderlecht. Two days before the Paris attacks, he had been filmed in the company of Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the attacks, at a gas station in Ressons-sur-Matz, near Compiègne, France, on the highway to Paris.

    He was also the “man in the hat” seen on Brussels Airport security-camera footage, who had left a suitcase full of explosives on 22 March 2016 before fleeing.

    Sofien Ayari’s fingerprints, taken during an identity check on 3 October 2015 in Ulm, Germany, while he was with Abdeslam, were discovered in a home used by the terror cell in Auvelais, in the Namur area. He was nabbed in a police operation at Rue des Quatre Vents in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean on the same day and at the same address as Abdeslam. He was indicted on 19 March 2016 for taking part in terrorist killings and the activities of a terrorist group.

    On 13 November, Ayari was in Amsterdam with Osama Krayem, who, like him, had stayed with Salah Abdeslam in early Autumn 2015. Krayem, a Swedish citizen who also went by a false Syrian identity as “Naïm Al Hamed”, was arrested on 8 April 2016. He had been filmed at the Pétillon subway station just before the 22 March 2016 attack at Maelbeek Station in Brussels.

    Krayem was reportedly to have blown himself up in the subway but changed his mind. Instead, he left his charge of TATP explosives in the toilet of the Etterbeek apartment where he was holed up with suicide bomber Khalid El Bakraoui.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times