Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving Paris attacks suspect, decided not to blow himself up during the multiple attacks in the French capital last year, his brother Mohamed Abdeslam said Friday. Abdeslam was arrested last month in Brussels.
“If I wanted, there would have been more victims,” Salah Abdeslam told his brother from prison in northern Belgium, according to Belgian media chain BFM TV. “Luckily, I did not follow through,” he added.
The simultaneous gun and bomb attacks in November last year killed 130 people.
Abdeslam, 26, was apparently hiding in Brussels for the last four months. Four days after his arrest, the Belgian capital was struck by coordinated suicide bombings at the airport and a metro station.
The French national, about to be extradited to France, reportedly told his brother he wants to cooperate with investigators, but denied any role in the Brussels bombings. Abdeslam also told his brother that he was “accountable to the French but not to the Belgians.”
Investigators believe the same militant network was behind the attacks in both cities. Belgian authorities say Abdeslam has links to at least two of the Brussels bombers. His fingerprints were found in a flat rented by Khalid el-Bakraoui, the terrorist who blew himself up at a Brussels metro station on March 22.
Najim Laachraoui, one of the two Airport bombers in Brussels, also drove to Hungary with Abdeslam in September, investigations revealed.