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Sunday 21 October 2018

Paris attacks suspect in Brussels for trial over police shootout

Salah Abdeslam is appearing in public for the first time since his arrest nearly two years ago.

Belgium Europe Islamic State Attacks
Belgium Europe Islamic State Attacks

By Lori Hinnant

The only surviving member of the Islamic State cell that attacked Paris in November 2015 is appearing in public for the first time since his arrest nearly two years ago.

Salah Abdeslam is going on trial in his hometown of Brussels on charges of attempted murder over a police shootout from which he fled.

The man who covered his getaway with a spray of automatic gunfire died.

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In this courtroom sketch, Salah Abdeslam appears at the Brussels Justice Palace (Petra Urban via AP)

Abdeslam’s escape was short-lived – he was captured on March 18 2016, in the same neighbourhood where he and many of his Islamic State fighter colleagues grew up.

Abdeslam arrived in the Belgian capital on Monday morning after being transferred from a prison in France.

Security was high at the Palace of Justice in Brussels, with armed guards and multiple checkpoints leading to the courtroom where he is to appear.

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Belgium Europe Islamic State Attacks

Abdeslam has refused to speak to investigators in France about the attack there that killed 130 people. Days after his capture, extremists struck in Brussels. In total, 162 people died in the two attacks.

The trial relates to the 2016 shooting in Brussels, some four months after the Paris attacks.

Abdeslam and two suspects were hiding in an apartment when police arrived for a routine search.

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Belgium Europe Islamic State Attacks

Three officers were injured in the shootout that followed and one suspect was killed.

Abdeslam was captured a few days later in the flashpoint Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek.

Press Association

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