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April 14, 2016

"The Third Man" In Brussels Airport/Metro Attacks: Terrorist? Me? No Way Dude I Was Forced To Do That Against My Will -- "I Wouldn't Even Hurt a Fly"

Um, okay.

In the French speaking world he's called "The Man in the Hat" (he wore won in that infamous footage). I'm going to translate that as "The Third Man" because that's how he's known here.

Questioned by a magistrate last Saturday, "The Third Man" claimed that someone had forced him into a taxi which brought him to the Zaventem Airport, according to SudPresse. The Belgian judged decided this Thursday to keep him in preventative detention.

We know a little more about the strategy of Mohamad Abrini, who has admitted being "The Third Man" at Zaventem Airport. According to BFM TV and SudPresse, who have had access to his declarations to the charging judge, the suspect charged with "terrorist murders" in the attacks at Paris and Brussels tried to minimize his role.

Questioned by a magistrate Saturday, he claimed to not have been radicalized and to never have traveled to Syria, contrary to the [facts] claimed by the Belgian prosecutors.

His presence at the side of two suicide bombers who had set off their explosive belts at the airport gates? He responded that he had never wanted to blow anything up. "I wouldn't even hurt a fly," he retorted.

Before fleeing the airport after the two explosions, he pushed [an airport luggage] cart transporting an explosive device which hadn't worked and hadn't been set off. Unsurprisingly, Mohamad Abrini accused his dead accomplices of the attacks: He presented the brothers El Bakraoui and Najim Lachraaoui as the organizers of the attacks in Brussels. It was Ibrahim el Bakrauoi who had chosen the targets to strike at the airport, the arrivals gate for the United States, Russia, and Tel-Aviv. According to SudPresse, he went so far as to accuse the two brothers of having "forced" him to get in the taxi which delivered him to the airport.

But one part of the plan fell through, given that Mohamad Abrini admitted fleeing after the two explosions. According to the federal Belgian prosecutors, the attack was initially planned in France during the [Euro soccer tournament, I guess]. A plan stymied by the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, last survivor of the commandos [their word] who struck Paris November 13, which had pushed the terrorists to strike Brussels.

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posted by Ace at 02:58 PM

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