Report: Brussels terrorists initially planned to strike Paris

"Numerous elements in the investigation have shown that the terrorist group initially had the intention to strike in France again," says Belgian prosecutor.

April 11, 2016 08:38
1 minute read.
brussels suspects

Security camera footage shows three men that Belgian police suspect of carrying out the attacks in Brussels. (photo credit: screenshot)

Terrorists behind the Brussels bombings had originally planned to strike Paris, but were forced to avert their plans and strike elsewhere as police closed in, according to a CNN report.

According to the report, investigators have reason to believe that the same Islamic State network was responsible for plotting November's Paris attacks and last month's Belgian bombings. They believe that the terror cell planned to strike once more in Paris following November's attacks, yet fearing discovery upon learning that French investigators were progressing in their investigation, changed their plans.

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The CNN report cites the Belgian prosecutor's office in a statement saying that, "numerous elements in the investigation have shown that the terrorist group initially had the intention to strike in France again."

Investigations into the Paris attacks, which killed 130 people, showed that many of the perpetrators lived in Belgium, including surviving suspects who managed to evade police for more than four months.

Prime suspect Salah Abdeslam was arrested on March 18 in the Belgian capital, four days before suicide bombers killed 32 people in Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train.

"Eventually ... they [the terrorists] urgently took the decision to strike in Brussels," the prosecutor said.

Last month, investigators recovered a laptop in Brussels which confirmed suspicions that the terror cell was plotting further attacks in Paris. On the laptop was a document listing targets in Paris including the city's financial district, known as La Defense, and a Catholic association.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, in the wake of  the recent attacks on Europe, said that the entire European continent faced a "very high threat" from militants.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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