In the days, weeks and months following the Paris attacks investigators try to reconstruct what happened. Time and time again the trail points to Belgium. Belgium is in the international spotlight and seen as a haven for terrorists. Five of the ten terrorists involved in the actual attacks are jihadi fighters returned from Syria and with links to Belgium. They grew up here or lived here.
It emerged that the attacks were largely planned in Belgium. Abdeslam and his brother left Molenbeek in Brussels a day before the attacks together with Mohamed Abrini, who is also alleged to have been involved in the Brussels attacks. They use three rent cars to drive to Charleroi (Hainault – Belgium), where other members of the terrorist outfit are waiting for them. Together they leave for Paris where the atrocities are committed the following day.
Salah Abdeslam is the world’s most wanted for several months. It was only on 18 March 2016 that he is arrested at a property in Molenbeek. Four days later the Brussels attacks occur. The attackers belong to the same network and most provided support for the Paris attacks.
Many of the terrorists’ accomplices, who are standing trial now, have links to Belgium. In addition to Abdeslam eleven of the alleged accomplices standing trial grew up in Belgium. They helped the terrorists to travel about, provided forged documents or offered shelter. Many of the defendants will also be represented by Belgian lawyers.