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Belgian Court Approves Extradition Of Terrorism Suspect Abdeslam To France

Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested in Belgium days before deadly bombings struck Brussels, is a step closer to going to France to face charges of being part of November's Paris attacks, after a Belgian judge approved his extradition.

According to Belgian news site RTL, the investigating court's approval came after Abdelslam confirmed his willingness to be extradited. The agency adds that a judge went to the prison in Bruges where Abelslam is being held in order to consider the extradition request.

Abdelslam, 26, was captured on March 18, during a police raid in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek. Three days later, police announced they had also identified a man who was suspected of being Abdelslam's accomplice. Only a day later, that man, Laachroui Najim, 24, served as one of the suicide bombers who attacked Brussels' international airport, police say.

As Teri Schultz reports for NPR's Newscast unit, "Abdeslam invoked his right to silence after only brief interrogations by Belgian authorities, who were harshly criticized for failing to get any information from him that might have helped prevent terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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