TERRORISM

Paris terror attacks suspect charged in shootout before Brussels bombings

Paris terror attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam has been charged over a deadly shootout with police days before the Brussels bombings.

One Islamist suspect was killed and four police were wounded in a gun battle at an apartment in the Forest district of Brussels on March 15.

The raid came three days before Abdeslam was arrested and a week before the Brussels attacks on 22 March.

Abdeslam's lawyer Sven Mary told AFP: "He has been charged with attempted murder either alone or jointly."

Abdeslam is due to be extradited to France in the coming days to face charges over last November's attacks in Paris.

He is suspected of being a key member of the terror squad that killed 130 people across the French capital.

Investigators believe he was supposed to blow himself up after driving suicide bombers to the Stade de France.

Belgian police have also tried to question him over his links to the three suicide bombers who struck Brussels airport and metro, killing 32 people and injuring hundreds.

The Islamic State group has claimed both attacks.

Asked if Abdeslam admitted being present at the Forest shootout, Mary said: "We won't discuss that, I won't comment."

Abdeslam will appear before a Belgian court again on 28 April and his extradition to France will come "perhaps two days after his court appearance," Mary added.

Abdeslam and alleged Paris accomplice Mohamed Abrini, who has also been charged over the Brussels attacks, were moved to different jails in Belgium last week.

Abrini, 31, has confessed to being "the man in the hat" caught on video with suicide bombers at Brussels airport.

Abrini was also linked to the Paris attacks after being caught on video at a motorway service station with Abdeslam.

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