Following the dramatic arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the prime suspect in the deadly Paris massacre in November, the Belgium Security services will now begin preparations to grill him to provide intelligence on how deep is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) rooted in Europe.
Quoting Belgian officials, CNN reports that Abdeslam may have been planning fresh attacks. If he talks (and his attorney says he is cooperating), he could provide intelligence on ISIS’ methods and resources in Europe.
Belgian State Security Chief Jaak Raes told Belgian network VTM Sunday: “It is of the utmost importance that Abdeslam was captured alive, because we can now try to reconstruct the entire scenario.”
Abdeslam’s arrest sent a wave of respite through Brussels as France will finally be able to hold to account one man allegedly involved in the Paris attacks.
Speaking to the police after his arrest, Abdeslam told the police that he was supposed to blow himself up at the Stade de France but backed out at the last minute.
French public prosecutor, François Molins, had confirmed that Abdeslam had been a key member of the group who carried out a series of bombings and shootings in Paris city on November 13 last year but stressed that alleged confession should be treated with care and needed to be double checked.
Abdeslam’s hideout came as a surprise as despite one of Europe’s biggest manhunts following the Paris attacks, he returned home in Molenbeek, where his parents still live.
He has been charged with participation in terrorist murder and in the activities of a terrorist organisation.
An accomplice arrested with him, believed to be Amine Choukri, has been similarly charged.