Man in the hat’ held: Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini arrested -(VIDEO)
Mohamed Abrini, a Belgian wanted in connection with November’s Islamic State attacks in Paris, has been arrested in Brussels, Belgian media reported on Friday.
According to the broadcaster VRT, Abrini, 31, is believed to be the “man in the hat” seen on CCTV footage at Brussels airport with the two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in the departures area last month.
At least a dozen other people suspected of providing logistical support for the Paris or Brussels attacks remain at large, French police sources said.
The “man in the hat” is also believed to have been carrying a bomb that failed to detonate, and was later seen on CCTV walking into central Brussels, where his trace was lost.
A second suspect was arrested with him. Abrini, who is of Moroccan origin, was placed on Europe’s most wanted list since being identified on CCTV footage at a motorway service station with the prime Paris attacks suspect, Salah al-Abdeslam, who was arrested in Brussels four days before the March 22 attacks in the Belgian capital.
The pair were seen together on November 11, two days before the Paris attacks, in a service station in France, on the motorway leading from the Belgian border to Paris. Abrini was at the wheel of a Renault Clio used in the attacks, which killed 130 people. Abrini is thought to have travelled to Syria, where his younger brother Souleymane is known to have joined Isis, fighting in the same group as Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected Paris attacks mastermind.
Abrini has a criminal record, with several convictions in Belgium for robbery and violence. The man arrested with him, named as Osama Krayem was reportedly in contact with at least one of the Brussels suicide attackers, Khalid El Bakraoui, on the day of the bombings at the airport and in the metro in which 32 people died.
Osama Krayem is believed to have entered Europe from Syria in September, landing at the Greek island of Lesbos with a fake Syrian passport in the name of Naïm Al Hamed.
Abrini and Osama Krayem have been described by Interpol as Europe’s two most wanted men.
The Belgian national broadcaster, RTBF, reported that he is believed to have bought bags used to carry the Brussels bombs.
Abrini’s DNA was found at a flat in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek where the bombs used in the airport and metro attacks in the Belgian capital are thought to have been made.