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Two detained in France over possible link to Brussels gunman

Belgian police officers from the forensic service search for evidence in a street after two people were killed during a shooting in Brussels on October 16, 2023.
Belgian police officers from the forensic service search for evidence in a street after two people were killed during a shooting in Brussels on October 16, 2023. Copyright KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP
Copyright KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP
By Euronews, AFP
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The two men are suspected of having conspired with Abdesalem Lassoued, the 45-year-old Tunisian national who killed two Swedes in Brussels on 16 October.

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Two men were arrested in the Paris region for likely being "linked to the author of the attack" committed on 16 October in Brussels, where a 45-year-old radicalised Tunisian national who was in Belgium illegally killed two Swedes.

The two, who have been confirmed to be Tunisian nationals in their 40s and 50s, were indicted by a judge in Paris, the French National Terrorism Prosecution Office (Parquet National Anti-terroriste, or PNAT) told AFP on Tuesday.

The two are among four arrested last week as part of the investigation looking into possible accomplishes of the Brussels attacker. They are suspected of "criminal terrorist conspiracy" and were placed in pre-trial detention.

One of the men, the one in his 40s, "has lived for almost twenty years in France" and "formally" contested the accusation.

"He has nothing to do with the attack," said his lawyer Souleymen Rakrouki. The attacker "is a friend he had known for a long time, from whom he had not seen any sign of radicalisation. He could never have imagined such an act."

A lawyer for the other man preferred not to comment.

Investigations "are continuing to clarify their links" with the Brussels attacker, Abdesalem Lassoued, though Belgian investigators previously said there was no evidence suggesting the man acted as part of a network. 

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Swedes were targeted because of their country's membership in a global coalition fighting jihadists.

Lassoued was shot and killed by police after a huge manhunt following the attack.

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