PARIS (AP) — He is the mute survivor of the 10-man Islamic State cell that terrorized Paris in November 2015, refusing all pleas to shed light on the attack that left 130 dead or another one in Brussels just four days after his arrest.
After nearly three years jailed in isolation and silence, Salah Abdeslam goes on trial Monday in his hometown of Brussels for a police shootout that he himself fled. The man who covered for his getaway with a spray of automatic gunfire died. Abdeslam’s escape was short-lived — he was captured on March 18, 2016, in the same Brussels neighborhood where he and many of his Islamic State fighter colleagues had grown up.
Four days later, Islamic State suicide attackers struck again, this time at the Brussels airport and subway. In all, that sprawling network of IS fighters killed 162 people in the two European capitals. Most of the extremists were French speakers, raised in one of the cities they struck. The plot’s execution depended upon Islamic State’s success in wedding crime and religion.