March 31, 2016 / 3:48 PM / 2 years ago

Belgium to extradite Paris suspect Abdeslam to France

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian court decided on Thursday that Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam could be extradited to France, Belgium’s federal prosecutors said.

A Handout picture shows Belgian-born Abdeslam Salah seen on a call for witnesses notice released by the French Police Nationale information services on their twitter account on November 15, 2015. REUTERS/POLICE NATIONALE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

A lawyer for Abdeslam said earlier that Abdeslam had dropped his initial objection to being extradited and had also renewed an offer to cooperate with French authorities investigating the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people.

“Salah Abdeslam wishes to be transferred to the French authorities,” lawyer Cedric Moisse told reporters. “He wishes to cooperate with the French authorities.”

Prosecutors said France and Belgium would now discuss how to proceed with the transfer, which the French Justice Ministry said should take place within the next 10 days.

After his arrest in Brussels on March 18, Abdeslam answered some investigators’ questions but then exercised his right to silence following the suicide bombings in Brussels on March 22 that killed 32 people.

Investigators believe the attacks in Paris and Brussels were carried out by militants from the same Islamic State network.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Robert-Jan Bartunek, Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Mark Trevelyan

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