Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini admitted to being the “man in the hat” seen accompanying two suicide bombers at Brussels airport on March 22, Belgium’s federal prosecutor said on Saturday.
“We confronted him with the video evidence prepared by our special unit,” a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office said, accoridng to Reuters. “He had to admit it was him.”
It is still unclear whether Abrini, who was arrested by Belgian police on Friday, is telling the truth. Belgian authorities launched a public appeal for help the day before in the search for the “man in the hat” suspect captured in an image on Brussels Airport CCTV cameras moments before two other men in the image detonated themselves and killed 14 other people at Brussels airport last month.
Freelance journalist Faycal Cheffou was incorrectly identified as the man in the days after the attack. He was released days after being arrested because of a lack of evidence linking him to the bombings.
Thirty-five people were killed and hundreds more were wounded after explosions ripped through the airport and at the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels on March 22.
Ibrahim El Bakraoui and his brother, Khalid, were named as suicide bombers in the attacks by the Belgian police the day after the attacks. Ibrahim died at the airport, while his brother died at the metro station, according to the police.
The police believe 24-year-old Najim Laachraoui, who appears in the photo’s far left, with Ibrahim El Bakraoui between him and the “man in the hat” suspect, was the second airport bomber. Laachraoui, described by the police as an ISIS bombmaker who made suicide vests used both in the Brussels attacks and in the November Paris attacks, also died at the airport.