Osama Atar, said to be one of the coordinators behind the Brussels and Paris attacks, claimed he was not “the mentor or brains behind the Brussels attacks” in a Facebook message. The message, sent to one of Osama Atar’s sisters, was published in La Dernière Heure on Saturday. In the message, the Belgian-Moroccan said he was not in Europe, but claimed investigators know where he is.
“No, I am not Osama Bin Laden or Abou Bakr Baghdadi’s (head of ISIS) right hand man. These dogs (investigators) know very well that I have never met him, in prison or anywhere else”, he said in the undated message. “I didn’t know what Brahim and Khalid (the El Bakraoui brothers, who blew themselves up during the Brussels attacks. They were his cousins) were planning. May Allah punish them. These dogs know that after they forced me to leave Belgium, I had no contact with them”, the message continues.
The message is addressed to Osama Atar’s mother, but sent to his sister Asma. He asked her to tell investigators about the message “so they wouldn’t make her out to be the most dangerous terrorist in Europe”.
On Wednesday, the Federal Prosecutor Frédéric Van Leeuw told the AFP that the order for the Brussels and Paris attacks came from “very high up” in the ISIS hierarchy. He added that Osama Atar being one of the attack commanders is “one theory among many others”. In the message printed in La Dernière Heure, Atar doesn’t mention the Paris attacks, which took place on the 13th of November. 130 people were killed.