Wednesday 18 January 2017

Paris suicide bomber's family claims he 'blew himself up because of stress' and he did not mean to kill anyone'

Published 17/11/2015 | 10:40

Flowers are placed on the doors of the Comptoir Voltaire cafe at the site of an attack on November 15, 2015 in Paris, after a series of gun attacks occurred across the city. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Flowers are placed on the doors of the Comptoir Voltaire cafe at the site of an attack on November 15, 2015 in Paris, after a series of gun attacks occurred across the city. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The mother of Paris suicide bomber Ibrahim Abdeslam - whose two brothers are also suspects - has said her son "did not mean to kill anyone" and his family believes he blew himself up because of "stress".

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Ibrahim Abdeslam, 31, detonated his suicide vest outside the Comptoir Voltaire cafe on Friday night, but did not kill anyone other than himself.

His brother Mohammed was arrested in Brussels on Saturday and a third sibling, Salah, is Europe's most wanted man after becoming the subject of an international arrest warrant.

The Abdeslam family said they were "surprised" that Ibrahim blew himself up, even though he had spent time in Syria.

Their mother Faklan, speaking to a reporter through her nephew - the bombers' cousin - outside the family home in Molenbeek, Brussels, told the Belgian website Het Laatste Nieuws that she was sure he had not planned to kill anyone.

Another family member said he would not have wanted to become a suicide bomber. "Maybe the explosives went off prematurely by accident. Maybe it was stress.

"We even saw him two days before the attacks. There were no signs that they had plans to do anything violent.

"The fact that his bomb belt exploded without killing anyone else says a lot."

The family admitted he had spent "a long time" in Syria.

"We were really surprised that Salah was involved. Ibrahim was different. We did see that he had been radicalised, at least in part. But not so much that we ever thought he would commit an atrocity like this".

Ibrahim, who seriously injured a bystander when he detonated his suicide bomb, rented a Seat Leon used in the attacks.

The car was used by the terrorists who murdered diners outside the Casa Nostra pizza restaurant and the La Belle Équipe cafe.

It was later found abandoned with a cache of weapons inside.

Meanwhile the French newspaper Le Parisien reports that police closed a coffee shop run by Ibrahim Abdeslam earlier this month because neighbours had complained about a strong cannabis odour.

Mohammed Abdeslam later spoke outside the family home, saying: "My family and I had no idea that they were in Paris. My parents are truly shocked. It was terrible for them.

"I have never had any problems with the justice system. I just want to be left in peace. I have been interrogated and cleared by the police. Everyone here knows what I am capable of and what I am not capable of.

"We don't know what has happened to Ibrahim and Salah. I did not know that they had been radicalised. I found out about it on the TV like everyone else.

"I am thinking of the victims."

A 48 year old woman, who owns a dress shop next door to the Abdeslam family home, said of the brothers: "They are nice boys, they say ‘bonjour Madame, ca va?’ When I see them coming and going from the house. They are good boys. They are a normal family, I am friends with their mother."

The neighbour said the family, who are of Moroccan origin, also had a daughter in her early 20s and a younger son. She said Mohammed and Ibrahim, both married with young children, lived in the house with their parents but Salah moved out three or four months ago to another house in Molenbeek.

She said: “I am friends with their mother, Faklan. I think she had no idea they were terrorists.”

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