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Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam to face terror trial over police shootout

Abdeslam was arrested in March last year, three days after the shootout in Brussels.

Salah Abdeslam
Salah Abdeslam
Image: Police Nationale

BELGIUM HAS ORDERED Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam and another man to stand trial over a police shootout with Belgian police last year, prosecutors have said.

Abdeslam was arrested on 18 March last year, three days after the shootout in Brussels as police pursued the investigation into the November 2015 Paris attacks in which Abdeslam is believed to be the sole surviving assailant.

Judges in Brussels acted on a request from prosecutors to have Abdeslam and Sofiane Ayari to stand trial in the Brussels criminal court, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

The two will be tried for “attempted murder on several police officers in a terrorist context” and “carrying banned weapons in a terrorist context,” the office said.

A trial date will be set in the next few weeks, it added.

Investigators suspect that Abdeslam’s arrest caused armed jihadists linked to him to carry out the Brussels bombings just four days later on March 22, 2016 as police closed in on the cell.

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French and Belgian police believe the same cell plotted the Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead, and the Brussels bombings, which cost the lives of 32 people.

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© AFP 2017

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