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Belgian charged with leadership role in 2015 Paris attacks

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/06/2017

BRUSSELS — Belgian prosecutors say a suspect in the attacks in Paris in 2015 has been charged with being a leader of the extremist cell that killed 130 people.

The 30-year-old Belgian national, Yassine Atar, has been charged with "terrorist assassinations" and of being "a leader in the activities of a terrorist group."

The federal prosecutor's office said Friday that he has been remanded in custody for one month. The cases of extremist suspects in Belgium are reviewed monthly until their trials, so such periods of custody are almost always extended.

Prosecutors declined to provide more information.

Atar was arrested on March 27, 2016, five days after suicide bombers attacked the Brussels airport and subway, killing 32 people.

He was a cousin of two of those bombers, the brothers Ibrahim and Khalid Bakraoui.

Atar is also the brother of one of the supposed masterminds of the Paris plot, Oussama Atar.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks on Nov. 13, 2015, which hit a rock concert, the national soccer stadium and bustling sidewalk cafes. Hundreds of people were also injured.

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