Saleh Abdeslam, who was arrested Friday in connection to the grisly Paris terrorist attacks last year, had been part of a terrorist network that had been "explicitly" built to carry out other attacks including against the Federal Republic of Germany, a high-ranking security expert told Berlin’s Tagesspiegel. The news coincided with deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels that left 34 people dead Tuesday, according to BBC.
Security sources told the Berlin newspaper that the group who had carried out the Paris terrorist attacks was only one of three groups assembled to carry out attacks in western Europe, and that the terrorist network had planned carry out other attacks. The majority of the first group was killed in a U.S. airstrike on Raqqa—the de-facto capital of the terror group the Islamic State—and the second group had carried out the Paris terrorist attacks in November, security sources told the newspaper.
ISIS member and Brussels native Abdeslam had traveled from Belgium to Ulm, Baden-Württemberg in October last year to pick up three men who had entered country disguised as Syrian refugees. The men he picked up might have been part of the Paris attacks group or had been slated to take part in future attacks in Belgium or Germany, according to Tagesspiegel's security source.
Following the Paris terror attacks, Abdeslam reportedly stayed at an apartment in north Brussels for roughly three weeks. On Friday, he was arrested in Brussels after months on the run and just days later, the city was rocked by three deadly explosions, killing at least 34 people and wounding 130. The blasts occurred at Brussels’ airport and a subway station in the district of Maalbeek, and were said to be caused by a suicide attack. In response, Belgium bumped its terror threat level up to four, which is the highest level.
"We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened," Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters.