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Belgium asks to borrow Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam for Brussels trial

Police escort Salah Abdeslam to court in Paris
Police escort Salah Abdeslam to court in Paris Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

Belgium has asked France to temporarily transfer Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to Belgium so that he can stand trial for a shootout with police in Brussels last year.

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Abdeslam, the only surviving suspect in the November 2015 Paris attacks, was arrested after a shootout with police in Brussels in March last year, four months after the Paris slaughter.

He and an alleged accomplice, Sofiane Ayari, are charged with "attempted murder of several police officers in a terrorist context”.

They are due to stand trial on 18 December.

Belgian prosecutors say that Abdeslam, who is currently in custody awaiting trial in France, wants to appear in person at his trial.

They are considering the transfer a loan and have guaranteed he will be returned to France.

Investigators suspect that Abdeslam’s arrest precipitated the Brussels attacks – four days after he was arrested, jihadists attacked the Brussels airport and metro system.

Both the Paris and Brussels attacks were claimed by the Islamic State armed group.

 Police in France and Belgium suspect the same cell planned both.

Abdeslam’s trial in Brussels is scheduled to last four days.

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