BRUSSELS (Brussels Morning) – At the November 2015 Paris attack trial, accused Mohamed Abrini said on Tuesday that co-accused Salah Abdeslam replaced him when Abrini relinquished his place in the terror command. Seven days earlier, Abrini, also known as the Man in the Hat, had promised to reveal revelations during his interrogation.
He has already reiterated that he was scheduled to be a member of the commando that killed 130 people in and around Paris on 13 November 2015.
Two months before the attacks, his childhood friend Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind behind the attacks, had told him he would participate in “a project.”
“Then I don’t know whether it’s the Bataclan (the concert hall where the terrorists struck), or France,” Abrini said.
Abrini testified that he couldn’t say no to a friend he owes. But very soon he would have told Brahim Abdeslam that he would not do it.
Salah Abdeslam’s older brother killed people on cafe terraces during the attacks. “I can’t go out on the streets and kill people, unarmed people,” Abrini said in the courtroom.
Because there was too much bomb vest and Kalashnikov in the car, Brahim Abdeslam turned to his brother. When asked whether the younger brother simply accepted that, Abrini replied that the presiding judge can ask that question tomorrow, during that interrogation.
President Jean-Louis Périès responded that it is “a bit strange” that Abrini was involved in the final preparations.
“I would like to give you so many answers,” said Abrini. “But at that moment I was lost. Why did I do that? I don’t know.” In doing so, Abrini is repeating what he already said during the investigation.
“I knew they were going to go to the end, and in my head I knew I was spending my last moments with them.”
Four months after the Paris attacks, Abrini was filmed at Zaventem airport, accompanied by two other terrorists. Those two detonated themselves, but Abrini ran away.
This is where his nickname originated, because the Belgian security services did everything they could to track him down in the hours after the attack. Two weeks later he was found in Anderlecht.
Abdeslam’s interrogations are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, about what happened that evening. Earlier he spoke about the basis of the file.
Image via Bruzz