Paris Suspect 'Didn't Know' of Brussels Plot
4th, 5th attackers may still be on the run
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2016 6:32 AM CDT
Belgian soldiers patrol outside a court building where Salah Abdeslam, the top suspect in last year's deadly Paris attacks, was expected to appear before a judge in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
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(Newser) – Salah Abdeslam, the Paris terror suspect whose arrest in Brussels may have triggered Tuesday's carnage, is claiming he knew nothing about the Belgium plot. Outside a Brussels court hearing surrounded by extremely heavy security Thursday, Abdeslam's lawyer said his client had changed his mind about fighting extradition and wants to get out of Belgium as soon as possible so he can "explain himself" in France, the Telegraph reports. Lawyer Sven Mary—who closed his offices after being attacked last night, per the Guardian—says Abdeslam has not been cooperating with authorities investigating the Brussels attacks and has said he didn't know about them. In other coverage:

  • According to Belgian media, suspected Paris bomb-maker Najim Laachraoui, initially thought to have been on the run, was a third suicide bomber. Authorities are still hunting a suspected airport attacker seen in a white jacket and a possible fifth suspect filmed walking with a suicide bomber before the Brussels Metro attack, the AP reports.

  • The attacks killed at least 31 people and injured hundreds more, but authorities have discovered they could have been even worse, the New York Times reports. A suicide belt and two large, undetonated bombs packed with nails were found at the airport. Two more bombs were found at an address from which two suspected attackers took a taxi the morning of the attacks.
  • The Financial Times reports that authorities in Belgium and the Netherlands are struggling to explain why Ibrahim El Bakraoui was not being monitored. On Wednesday, Turkey said both countries were warned that El Bakraoui, who was deported to the Netherlands after being arrested at the Syrian border, was a dangerous extremist.
  • The Washington Post takes a closer look at the background of both El Bakraoui brothers and finds that they were violent thugs long before they were radicals—just like many others in the latest wave of extremist recruits.
  • The BBC reports on the emerging stories of the dead, injured, and missing from the attacks. The missing include at least four Americans.