Hamza Attou and Mohammed Amri were charged Tuesday for participating in terrorist activity; they told investigators that they were called and asked to come and pick up Salah Abdeslam, one of the suspected gunmen in Friday night's terror attacks in Paris. The two men were seen by witnesses and captured in videos as they passed the Belgian border from Paris Saturday morning with Abdeslam but were allowed to proceed.
The getaway car was pulled over just hours after the attacks, and the identification of the alleged attacker was checked but not flagged at the time. It was later discovered that Abdeslam had rented the vehicle and then later abandoned it while fleeing Paris. He is reportedly the brother of one of the suicide bombers and is a French-born Algerian. Officials in France said that he had a radicalization security file on record.
Little has been reported about the drivers so far, but they were two of the seven individuals arrested or detained during a Saturday sweep of the Molenbeek neighborhood in Brussels. Molenbeek, which has a large Muslim population and many residents of Moroccan descent, is the home of at least two of the gunmen who open fired Friday night in Paris, and was the site of several police raids that followed. The area has been called a “radical den” and also the “jihadi capital of Europe.”
The neighborhood has been the site of major security concerns for Belgian authorities in Brussels, and officials have struggled to police the area, which has an unemployment level three-times higher than that of the rest of the country.
French and Belgian officials are continuing their search for Abdeslam. It is suspected that eight individuals carried out the attacks Friday night, which killed at least 129 people and left hundreds more injured. There were 99 people in critical condition.