Belgian authorities in Brussels have apprehended several suspects linked to the deadly bombings last month, including one suspect who may have been involved in the Paris attacks: Mohamed Abrini.
According to state-media in Belgium, several arrests were made today as part of a sweep following an intense manhunt for the “man in white” seen in surveillance video accompanying the Brussels bombers last month. Media outlets have not confirmed whether or not Mohamed Abrini was the man in white, but many sources on the ground are beginning to speculate that Abrini – who was reportedly also involved in the Paris attacks – may have been the mysterious third suspect in the Brussels bombings last month.
Mohamed Abrini, 31, was arrested by police in Brussels today, following the release of surveillance video showing a man in white leaving the Brussels airport last month. According to CNN however it is too soon to know with any certainty whether or not Abrini was indeed the “man in white.”
Mohamed Abrini was reportedly involved in last year’s deadly Paris attacks, alongside Salah Abdeslam, who was apprehended last month just ahead of the bombings in Brussels. Authorities report that the arrest of Mohamed Abrini will strengthen the position of police in future interrogations of Abdeslam. Brussels police will now be able to corroborate information received from Abdselam against information they anticipate they’ll receive from Abrini.
Abrini was arrested by Brussels police today after months of searching for the remaining Paris attacker, and according to CBS News, Abrini is likely the mysterious man in white seen in surveillance video from the scene of the Brussels airport bombing last month. Belgian officials however have declined to confirm that Abrini is the man in white, but commentators observe that Abrini’s involvement in both the Paris and Brussels attacks would be unprecedented.
Mohamed Abrini’s arrest in Brussels today comes just days after the release of hours of surveillance video depicting the man in white, who escorted two of the Brussels bombers to the Brussels airport last month. Though Abdeslam was arrested last month just ahead of the Brussels bombings, authorities have not yet been able to link any two ISIS operatives to both the attacks in Paris and Brussels. If Abrini is confirmed to be the man in white in the Brussels bombings, he will be the first fugitive ISIS operative that has played a key role in both the deadly attacks in Paris and the bombings in Brussels.
The key remaining suspect in November's Paris terror attacks, Mohamed Abrini, has been arrested, Belgian media say https://t.co/3iX1agyN3S— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) April 8, 2016
Mohamed Abrini has had a long history with the Paris attackers; reportedly he was childhood friends with Salah Abdeslam and Abdelhamid Abbaoud, and both were ISIS militants involved in the Paris attacks. According to CBS News, Abrini lived in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek, after which time he temporarily traveled to Syria last summer where his younger brother was killed. After returning to Brussels, Abrini was involved in the planning and execution of the Paris attacks last year which saw over a hundred civilians killed.
Today’s Brussels arrests are the latest in a series of arrests made as the Brussels police crackdown on the neighborhoods of Molenbeek and Maelbeek, where the Brussels attackers reportedly lived.
The Wall Street Journal corroborates the reports that Abrini was likely the man in white seen in the Brussels bombing surveillance videos, however the Journal cautions that authorities in Brussels have arrested the wrong suspect before – when the Brussels police arrested Faycal Cheffou days after the attacks, but released him after it became clear that he was misidentified.
Also arrested in Brussels today was Osama Krayem, who was reportedly involved in the subway bombing in Brussels last month, reports CNN.
[Photo by AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert]