Suspects in Paris Attack Owned Bar

It was closed over drug trafficking allegations this month
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2015 4:00 PM CST
Suspects in Paris Attack Owned Bar
Salah Abdeslam   (Police Nationale via AP)

Before they were suspects in the deadliest attack on French soil since WWII, brothers Brahim and Salah Abdeslam owned a bar called Les Beguines in Brussels, the Wall Street Journal reports. "I used to go there every day after work," a neighbor tells the Telegraph. "We would go there to smoke hashish, drink alcohol, no problem." A friend tells Reuters he would see the brothers at Les Beguines everyday. They would play cards and talk sports, he says. But Brahim and Salah sold the bar Sept. 30 for what locals say was "a lot of money," the Telegraph reports. Six weeks later, Brahim blew himself up outside a Paris cafe and Salah is on the run from a continent-wide manhunt.

Authorities shut down Les Beguines, located in a heavily Muslim area of Brussels, on Nov. 5 after a police raid in August found patrons selling drugs and smoking marijuana, Reuters reports. And a neighbor tells the Journal the bar was "a rough hangout with regular fights and frequent visits by police." Brahim and Salah were reportedly known to police for drug violations despite the use of drugs—in addition to alcohol and tobacco—being banned in Islam. "The history of the two fits a pattern in which many Islamist terrorists in Europe have been radicalized from the ranks of petty criminals and drug users," the Journal states. And Reuters notes attacks are often carried out by people who were seemingly fully assimilated into the culture of Europe. (Read more Paris terror attacks stories.)

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