Morocco ar­rests Bel­gian linked to Paris at­tack­ers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Moroc­can po­lice have ar­rested a Bel­gian man of Moroc­can de­scent, say­ing he is linked to the Is­lamic State group and had a “di­rect re­la­tion­ship” to the at­tack­ers who killed 130 peo­ple in Paris two months ago, the In­te­rior Min­istry said Mon­day.

The man had trav­elled to Syria with one of the Paris sui­cide bombers, where he re­ceived mil­i­tary train­ing and built re­la­tion­ships with IS field com­man­ders, “in­clud­ing the mas­ter­mind” of the Paris at­tacks, and oth­ers who threat­ened at­tacks in France and Bel­gium, the min­istry said in a state­ment.

The state­ment iden­ti­fied the sus­pect only by the ini­tials J.A., and didn’t ex­plain his sus­pected re­la­tion­ship to the Paris at­tack­ers. But Bel­gian fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor Eric Van der Sypt told The As­so­ci­ated Press the sus­pect’s name is Gelel At­tar, a dual Bel­gian-Moroc­can na­tional pre­vi­ously con­victed in Bel­gium of in­volve­ment with a ter­ror­ist group. The let­ters G and J are rep­re­sented by the same let­ter in Ara­bic script.

Sev­eral of the Is­lamic ex­trem­ists who tar­geted a Paris rock con­cert, sta­dium and cafes on Nov. 13 had Moroc­can ori­gins and links to Bel­gium.

The Moroc­can min­istry said in a state­ment that the man was ar­rested Fri­day in the town of Mo­ham­me­dia, near Casablanca, af­ter trav­el­ling through Turkey, Ger­many, the Nether­lands and Bel­gium. It said the sus­pect is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

At least one of the Paris at­tack­ers re­mains at large.

Morocco has emerged as a key ally for Euro­pean in­ves­ti­ga­tors try­ing to piece to­gether the ge­og­ra­phy of the Nov. 13 at­tacks. The head of Morocco’s Cen­tral Bureau of Ju­di­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tions, dubbed the “Moroc­can FBI,” told the AP in a re­cent in­ter­view that his coun­try put French and Bel­gian po­lice on the trail of the net­work be­hind the Paris at­tacks.

Sev­eral of the at­tack­ers lived Turn the pages of The Guardian to find Jack and Susie Frost and the Oc­to­nauts, each will have a let­ter from the al­pha­bet. Col­lect all six let­ters, un­scram­ble them to spell a word. Go on­line at click on and fol­low the links to en­ter your name, con­tact in­for­ma­tion and the word of the day. Con­test runs from Jan­uary 19-Jan­uary 29, 2016. Win­ner will be no­ti­fied on Fe­bru­ary 3, 2016. in the Brus­sels neigh­bour­hood of Molen­beek, home to many im­mi­grants of Moroc­can de­scent.

Last July, a Brus­sels court found 30 peo­ple guilty of in­volve­ment in an op­er­a­tion to re­cruit for­eign fight­ers for Syria. Some were al­ready in Syria when the trial took place.

Among them: Ab­del­hamid Abaaoud, rin­gleader of the Nov. 13 Paris at­tacks, and Chakib Akrouh, a fel­low res­i­dent of Molen­beek iden­ti­fied last week as the sui­cide bomber who blew him­self up in­side the sub­ur­ban Paris home in which Abaaoud and his fe­male cousin at­tempted in vain to hide out from po­lice.

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