Police have arrested a Muslim terrorist, convicted already for his crime, in Belgium while he was trying to enter Bulgaria, authorities said. The cops detained the suspect on 10 November during a special operation involving border police, the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The Muslim man is wanted in connection with a “20-year prison sentence for terrorism” in another European country.
Prosecutors said the suspect had been given a prison sentence of nine years and five months in Turkey on terrorism charges.
Bulgarian media have identified the terrorist as Yassine Lachiri, who is allegedly associated with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the November 2015 attacks in Paris.
A source close to the investigating team confirmed that the terrorist arrested in Bulgaria was Lachiri.
In 2015, he was sentenced in absentia by a Brussels court in a trial into an alleged Islamist recruitment network.
Meanwhile, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said they were preparing an extradition order to get the terrorist.
Paris is preparing to mark the sixth anniversary of the terror attacks that killed 130 people and injured dozens of others.
A landmark “trial of the century” into the November 2015 terror attacks is also underway in the French capital and is likely to run until May 2022.
According to the court, towards the end of 2014, he was desperate to get back from Syria, where he was fighting with ISIS, in order to participate in the planned attack in Belgium.
His wiretapped conversations reveals that he tried to fly to Belgium, most probably from Athens, with а fake passport, but was caught by the authorities at the airport.
The terrorist was not arrested and did not give up, however. Instead, he obtained the services of a prostitute from Belgium, who escorted him back to his home country, the two of them posing as a tourist couple.
Last 13 November, he participated in the coordinated attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people and injured over 350 in Europe’s deadliest terror attack since the Madrid train bombings in 2004.