Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini admits to being ‘man in the hat’

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Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini, who was arrested in Brussels on Friday, has admitted to being the third would-be suicide bomber at Brussels Airport, prosecutors say. He is now facing multiple terrorism-related charges.

Abrini was arrested in the Brussels suburb of Anderlecht on Friday and later charged with participating in the activities of a terrorist group and terrorist murders in connection with the attacks in Paris. Hours later, Abrini admitted to being the fugitive who had been dubbed the ‘man in the hat.’

“The Federal Prosecutor’s Office can now confirm that Mohamed Abrini indeed is the third man present at the Brussels National Airport attacks,” the office said in a statement on Saturday. “After being confronted with the results of the different expert examinations, he confessed his presence at the crime scene.”

Abrini also told investigators that he had thrown away his vest in a garbage bin and sold his hat afterwards.

Abrini had been sought since November when he was found to have links to Paris attacks fugitive Salah Abdeslam, who was caught in Belgium just days before the deadly Brussels attacks. Abrini’s fingerprints have since been found in safehouses and a car used during the Paris attacks.

A total of 35 people, including three attackers, were killed on the morning of March 22 when suicide bombers attacked Brussels Airport and the Maalbeek metro station. A third would-be suicide bomber, the so-called man in the hat, was carrying the largest bomb but fled the busy airport without setting it off.

The attacks in Brussels were linked to the same group that carried out the attacks in Paris in November, killing 130 people and injuring hundreds more. During those attacks, Islamic State (ISIS) members opened fire at restaurants and a theater while suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a stadium.

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