Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam denied knowledge of Brussels prior to Belgium terror strikes and 'wasn't asked about future attacks'

Extracts from transcript of interrogation from Belgian police suggest he wasn't asked questions on future attacks

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The Independent Online

The captured Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam was shown pictures by Belgian interrogators last Saturday of the brothers who later carried out the Brussels suicide  bombings, it emerged today.

He denied all knowledge of them and was not pushed to say more.

Exracts from a transcript of  his two hour interrogation, leaked to the French newspaper Le Monde, suggest that Belgian police failed to ask any questions on possible future attacks.

The interrogation was carried out 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.

Abdeslam admits frankly that he had not been able to carry out the suicide bombing at the Stade de Franmce which had been allotted to him. He says that one of the presumed leaders of the Paris plot, Mohamed Belkaid, killed in a police raid in Brussels earlier this month, was furious when he returned.

“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…”

 Abdeslam minimises his role in the Paris attacks which he blames on Abdehamid Abaaoud,  the presumed ringleader who was killed by French police the following week, and his older brother Brahim.

He says at one point: “I did it because  Brahim asked me.”

All the money for renting cars and apartments came from Brahim, he says, “but I know it wasn’t Brahim’s own money”.

The transcript will give weight to allegation that Belgian police missed a possible opportunity to obtain advance information on the Brussels bombings  this week.

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.