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Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam interrogated by Belgian police

“I told him I couldn’t blow myself. He consoled me and said he would hide me until I could be sent to a safer place...”

John Lichfield reporting for the Independent: A bizarre case of… some could even call it police negligence, happened when extracts from a transcript of the two hour interrogation of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam leaked to the French newspaper Le Monde.

The evidence suggested that Belgian police failed to ask any questions on possible future attacks and was unable to get any relevant information from the criminal, who, when shown pictures of two brothers responsible for the Brussels suicide bombings, denied all knowledge of them and was not pushed to say more.

The interrogation itself took place the day after Abdeslam’s arrest in Brussels last Friday and three days before the Brussels bombings which killed 31 people. Most of the questioning concerned Abdeslam’s aborted role in the Paris attacks on 13 November and his four months in hiding.

However, the terrorist admitted that he was unable to carry out the plans of the suicide bombing at the Stade de Franmce which had been allotted to him because he was consumed by his own fear of death.

“Abdel (Mohamed Belkaid) wasn’t happy to see he come back (from Paris). I told him I couldn’t blow myself. He consoled me and said he would hide me until I could be sent to a safer place…” Abdeslam told the investigators. 

“I gave up (the plan to blow himself up) as soon as I had parked the car (at the Stade de France), I dropped my three passengers and drove off again. I just drove at random. I parked somewhere. I don’t know where.. I went on the Metro for one or two stops…I found a phone shop and bought a phone and rang someone…”

At the very end of the interview, on 19 March he is shown pictures by the investigators of the El Bakraoui brothers who blew themselves up in Brussels three days later. Abdeslam says: “Don’t know them.” He is not pushed.

According to Belgian media reports, this was the only interrogation of Abdeslam since his arrest. 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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