Europe

French judges order 20 terrorism suspects to stand trial over 2015 Paris attacks

French judges have ordered 20 people to stand trial over the coordinated attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015, including Salah Abdeslam, the only suspected assailant still alive, prosecutors said Monday, March 16.

The move comes after investigators wrapped up their vast inquiry into the murderous attacks claimed by Islamic State, part of a wave of terrorist attacks on French soil over the past five years.

No date was announced for the trial, which will include 1,765 civil plaintiffs, many of them relatives of victims.

A total of 130 people died in the November 15, 2015, assaults by 10 heavily armed gunmen who attacked during a football match at the national stadium outside Paris, and then bars and restaurants in the capital as well as the Bataclan concert hall.

All of the attackers detonated their explosive vests or were killed by police except Abdeslam, who was arrested in Belgium four months later.

He has refused to cooperate with investigators and remains in solitary confinement.

Anti-terror prosecutors last November charged 14 people currently in prison or under judicial supervision, with six others sought by international arrest warrants.

But at least three of those wanted are believed dead, including Oussama Atar, a Belgian-Moroccan citizen who is thought to have helped orchestrate the attack from Raqqa, the former capital of Islamic State’s self-declared “caliphate” in Syria.

Atar was reportedly killed in early 2018, but his death has not been officially confirmed.

The other suspects facing trial have been charged with helping to organize or finance the attacks, or helping the gunmen to flee.

The same terrorist cell blamed for the Paris attacks is believed to also have struck the airport and metro system of Brussels in March 2016, killing 32 people.


With reporting from AFP

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