Alleged Paris Attack Suspect Admits to Being the 'Man in the Hat' from Brussels Bombings: Prosecutor
04/09/2016 AT 01:50 PM EDT
Mohamed Abrini, a 31-year Belgian-Moroccan who was arrested Friday in a dramatic curbside takedown in the Anderlech district of Brussels, has today confessed to his part in the bombings, according to the Belgian Prosecutor. The three coordinated attacks, which took place on March 22, killed 32 people total, including mother-of-four Gail Minglana Martinez, 41, and New Yorkers Justin and Stephanie Shultz.
"The Federal Prosecutor’s Office can now confirm that Mohamed Abrini indeed is the third man present at the Brussels National Airport attacks," the Belgian prosecutor stated in a press release on Saturday.
"After being confronted with the results of the different expert examinations, he confessed his presence at the crime scene. He explained having thrown away his vest in a garbage bin and having sold his hat afterwards."
Abrini has been one of the world's most wanted list since November's terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed 130. He is believed to have been involved in "logistical support" for the attacks – although his role may ultimately prove to have been much deeper through his close ties to captured Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam.
"His digital prints with his DNA were identified in the safehouses in Rue Max Roos and Rue Henri Bergé in Schaarbeek’ and in a Renault Clio car used in the Paris attacks," Belgian spokesperson Thierry Werts confirmed to reporters Friday.
"He was also seen with Salah Abdeslam on the 11th of November towards 7 O'Clock in the garage in Ressons, France, on the motorway towards Paris.
"Moreover it has come out with regard to the enquiry with Paris that Salah Abdeslam and Abrini hired a room just before the attacks and in the flat that they rented there were a number of other suicide bombers who joined them just before the Paris attacks."
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According to the Belgian prosecutor, Abrini has now been officially charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist group and terrorist murders.
In a separate development, Belgian police Saturday also charged Swedish national Osama Krayem, 23, for his alleged involvement in the Maalbeek subway station bombing from March 22.
Krayem was reportedly pictured on closed circuit television alongside suicide bomber Khalid El Bakraoui at the station shortly before the attack occurred.
"The investigation of the attacks on Brussels National Airport (Zaventem) and Maelbeek subway station (Brussels), has been able meanwhile to formally identify Osama K. as being the second person present at the attacks on the Maelbeek subway station," the Belgian prosecutor said in a press release.
"Thus, he was also present in the City2 shopping mall when purchasing the bags that were used later in the attacks."
"The Investigating Judge has put him in custody and has charged him with participation to the activities of a terrorist group and terrorist murders."