Abrini was involved in the preparation of the attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 and is the sole surviving terrorist from the Brussels Airport attack on 22 March of this year. Unlike the two other Zaventem terrorists Abrini, the man with the hat, did not blow himself up at the airport. He was detained on 8 April.
In contrast with Paris terrorist suspect Salah Abdeslam, who has remained largely silent, Abrini has spoken with detectives and provided details about safe houses used by terrorists in Belgium.
Abrini tells how he and the others feel hunted down and under pressure from the police. His terrorist unit splits up and leaves their safe house in the Henri Bergéstraat in the Brussels borough of Schaarbeek. Abrini says that some of the terrorists head for a property in the Tentoonstellingslaan in Jette (Brussels).
“Because there had been raids in the immediate vicinity I left for Jette. Ibrahim El Bakraoui’s brother dropped me off. Salah (Abdeslam), he left for another safe house, but I don’t know which one."
Abrini maintains that the terrorists receive tip offs from people incarcerated in jail.
Mohamed Abrini: We left the Jette safe house because the El Bakraoui Brothers (Both killed in the attacks) received word from prison saying that they should leave Jette before things hotted up too much."
Police are hot on the heels of the terrorists but fail to arrest them in time to prevent the Brussels attacks. Salah Abdeslam’s arrest on 18 March is a success, but the security services are aware that not all the terrorists have been detained.
On 22 March the terrorists strike at Brussels Airport and at Maalbeek metro station. Two weeks later Mohamed Abrini and Ossama Krayem, who took part in the metro attack, are behind bars. The networks seems to have been dismantled.
Abrini tells officers: "I can confirm that there were arms in all the flats used. Arms were removed a day or two before the Brussels attacks. Khalid El Bakraoui (one of the Brussels terrorists killed in the metro attack) moved the arms. I know he had a garage where he hid hydrogen peroxide and other gear. I don't know where this box is and what was in it."
"There were three or four Kalashnikovs, an air rifle and explosives. He carried everything away in a bag. I don’t know where he took it."
Belgian police have already raided 152 garage boxes in Brussels but no arms or explosives have yet been found.
Paul Van Tigchelt, the head of OCAD, the Belgian government body that analyses the terrorist threat told Pano: “There has been mention of arms and explosives that have not been recovered after the 22 March attacks. You will remember that at one point there were lots of raids on garage boxes. We hoped to find the arms and explosives. Today I cannot rule out that there are still arms and explosives somewhere.”
More details about the Pano investigation by Caroline Van den Berghe and Dirk Leestmans will be broadcast on tonight's show on VRT television on the Eén channel at 21:25 CET.