France

Brussels terror cell proof of 'very high threats to France'

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that France and Europe continue to face very high terror threats.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that France and Europe continue to face very high terror threats. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
2 min

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Sunday that the information that a Belgian jihadist cell planned another attack against France was evidence of the elevated threat to the country.

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Speaking to reporters during a press conference in Algiers, Valls, who is on an official visit to Algeria, said that it was extra proof of the very high threats to the whole of Europe and to France in particular.

“We will not let our guard down,” he added.

Earlier on Sunday, Belgian federal prosecutors said that the Brussels-based terror cell, which carried out attacks in the Belgian capital last month, had initially intended to launch a fresh strike in France.

“Surprised by the speed of the progress in the ongoing investigation, they urgently took the decision to strike in Brussels,” they said.

According to a report in the Belgian daily L'Echo, Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini who was arrested on Friday in Anderlecht, confessed that he wanted to return to Paris for another attack but was spooked by the investigation and hastily decided to carry out the Brussels bombings.

The Belgian capital was rocked by terror strikes on March 22 just four days after the arrest of the Paris attacks’ suspect Salah Abdeslam. A total of 32 people died in the attacks.

Abrini had confessed on Saturday to being ‘the man in the hat’ caught on video with suicide bombers at Brussels airport last month. He was also the last known Paris suspect still at large.

He had been spotted on CCTV cameras at a petrol station north of Paris two days before the attacks in the French capital. He was accompanied in the car by Abdeslam.

Abrini has been charged with ‘participation in the activities of a terrorist group and terrorist murders’ for attacks in Paris and Brussels.

Another terror suspect Osama Krayem, a Swedish national, who was arrested along with Abrini on Friday, was also charged similarly over his role in suicide bombing at Malbeek metro station on March 22, which occurred an hour after the blasts at Brussels airport.

- with AFP

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