Belgium orders trial for terror suspect over shootout
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Belgium orders trial for terror suspect over shootout

Salah Abdeslam, believed to be sole surviving perpetrator of 2015 Paris attacks, to be tried for attempted murder of police officers during arrest

Salah Abdeslam, suspected of being involved in the attacks that occured on November 13, 2015, in Paris (Federal Police of Belgium/AFP)
Salah Abdeslam, suspected of being involved in the attacks that occured on November 13, 2015, in Paris (Federal Police of Belgium/AFP)

BRUSSELS — Belgium has ordered Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam and another man to stand trial over a police shootout with Belgian police last year, prosecutors said Thursday.

Abdeslam was arrested on March 18 last year, three days after the shootout in Brussels as police pursued the investigation into the November 2015 Paris attacks in which Abdeslam is believed to be the sole surviving assailant.

Judges in Brussels acted on a request from prosecutors to have Abdeslam and Sofiane Ayari to stand trial in the Brussels criminal court, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

The two will be tried for “attempted murder on several police officers in a terrorist context” and “carrying banned weapons in a terrorist context,” the office said.

A trial date will be set in the next few weeks, it added.

Screen capture from VTM shows Salah Abdeslam, center, as he is arrested by police and bundled into a police vehicle during a raid in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium, March 18, 2016. (VTM via AP)
Screen capture from VTM shows Salah Abdeslam, center, as he is arrested by police and bundled into a police vehicle during a raid in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium, March 18, 2016. (VTM via AP)

Investigators suspect that Abdeslam’s arrest caused armed jihadists linked to him to carry out the Brussels bombings just four days later on March 22, 2016 as police closed in on the cell.

French and Belgian police believe the same cell plotted the Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead, and the Brussels bombings, which took the lives of 32 people.

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