Belgium charges 9th Paris attacks suspect
AFP photoThe Belgian authorities have charged a ninth person in connection with last month’s deadly Paris attacks, the prosecutor’s office said Dec. 24.
A spokesman said the suspect had telephoned Hasna Aitboulachen, the cousin of ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, several times after the Nov. 13 attacks and before a police raid five days later in which they both died.
A statement identified the man as Abdoullah C., a Belgian national born in 1985, who was arrested on Dec. 22 on charges of “terrorist murders and participation in the activities of a terrorist organization.”
The attacks, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the Belgian links to them have shocked the country and sparked a sharp increase in visible security.
Armed police and soldiers now patrol the streets in Brussels, Europe’s diplomatic hub and home to the European Union, NATO and a host of major companies.
The Paris onslaught stoked fears the city was fertile ground for Islamist extremists, who have in some cases gone to fight in Syria and returned home battle-hardened and even more determined.
The police are especially looking for Brussels-born Salah Abdeslam, 26, who is believed to have played a key role in the attacks on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the French national stadium which left 130 dead.