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article imageBelgium orders trial for terror suspect Abdeslam over shootout

By AFP     Aug 17, 2017 in World

Belgium has ordered Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam and another man to stand trial over a police shootout with Belgian police last year, prosecutors said Thursday.

Abdeslam was arrested on March 18 last year, three days after the shootout in Brussels as police pursued the investigation into the November 2015 Paris attacks in which Abdeslam is believed to be the sole surviving assailant.

Judges in Brussels acted on a request from prosecutors to have Abdeslam and Sofiane Ayari to stand trial in the Brussels criminal court, the federal prosecutor's office said.

The two will be tried for "attempted murder on several police officers in a terrorist context" and "carrying banned weapons in a terrorist context," the office said.

A trial date will be set in the next few weeks, it added.

Investigators suspect that Abdeslam's arrest caused armed jihadists linked to him to carry out the Brussels bombings just four days later on March 22, 2016 as police closed in on the cell.

French and Belgian police believe the same cell plotted the Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead, and the Brussels bombings, which cost the lives of 32 people.

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