Mohamed Abrini, 31 – a suspected member of the terror group that carried out the Paris attacks of November 13th, 2015 – and two other people were taken into custody while in the Molenbeek district of Brussels on Friday. Molenbeek has been seen as an active area for religious extremism within the country.
Abrini is a Belgian National but from Morocco originally, who is believed to not only be linked to the Paris attacks, but also the Brussels airport bombings of March 22nd.
Two days before the attacks in Paris, Abrini and Abdeslam were seen “driving into the city.” Yahoo News also reported that “the car they drove was used two days later in the attacks.”
In the video below you can see “the man in the hat,” who is believed to be Mohamed Abrini, making his escape from the airport. In other footage, you can see the same man standing next to the attackers while they wheel their luggage carts around and talk to each other. That same “man in the hat” leaves shortly before the bombings.
If Abrini does prove to have been involved in both the Paris and Brussels attacks, it means that he’s one of those responsible for the deaths of at least 162 people and the injuries of many more. He also may have information.
“As an investigator, this gives you a much stronger position to be in to get to the truth … to run other terrorists on the run down, and also to understand precisely what happened in Paris,” WGN Chicago reported CNN’s Nic Robertson as saying.
WGN also reported that Abrini does have a violent criminal record, that his younger brother was a member of ISIS before he died, and that there’s also the possibly that the Paris attacker may have visited Syria.
130 people died in the Paris attacks at the Bataclan concert hall, multiple cafes and restaurants, and in the suicide bombings at the Stade de France stadium, where Germany and France were playing a friendly football game.
That football game also just happened to be being attended by François Hollande, who is the current President of France.
Many major metropolitan areas in Europe like Paris, London, and Brussels are seeing greater amounts of radical activity, which is in part due to the rising number of ghettos that surround the cities.
CNN intelligence analyst Bob Baer said, “They’ve been in denial all these years — it’s not our problem — until terrorists attacked. Then it did become their problem. But police have a long way to go before they manage this.” He also went on to say, however, that “it’s a troubled, very small minority which is susceptible to this call of death.”
Just last year, Vice visited Paris after the attacks to interview some of the Muslims that are living in these areas, and many of them talked about how they felt very removed from society in France.
Feeling removed is a prime reason to not like the society that you’re supposed to be a part of, because you’ve essentially been rejected from it, which could have a lot to do with the so called “hot beds” of terrorist activity that we keep hearing about.
These are signs that Europe may have to ramp up its efforts to integrate people – not only geographically, but also culturally and economically – in order to stem the growth of extremism the continent is facing.
[Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images]