Trial of the Brussels attacks: “broken heart”, “law of retaliation”…

Tags : Brussels attacks, Belgium, terrorism, ISIS, Osama Krayem, Salah Abdeslam, Bilal El Makhoukhi, Mohamed Abrini,

For the first time, the main defendants of the attacks in Brussels reconsidered their motivations for engaging in the path of armed jihad and the commission of attacks in Europe. For the most part, they send Daesh and the international coalition back to back.

Basically, why carry out terrorist attacks in Europe? The question was frankly put, this Thursday, to the main defendants of the attacks in Brussels – except for Osama Krayem, who will stay away from the box until the end of his trial. Offering them the opportunity to explain their doctrine, their motivations and to try to legitimize the atrocious acts committed in Paris and Brussels on November 13, 2015 and March 22, 2016.

Sofien Ayari, the Tunisian jihadist arrested at the same time as Salah Abdeslam, left very early to do jihad in Syria. With the relative consent of his family, moreover. He took up arms, barely twenty years old, and was sent to fight, notably in the province of Homs. He rubs shoulders with the horror of war but considers it « understandable ». It was after a serious jaw injury, when he was sent for revalidation in Raqqa, that he « rocked ». On the front line, he says, « friends died in my arms, I saw bodies torn to pieces but here it is, it’s war, it’s like that, it’s a logic that I can understand « . In Raqqa, Ayari observes the bombardments of the international anti-Islamic State coalition, which has cost the lives of civilians. “It was no longer war, it was something else, it was bombs falling on men, women, children… I’ve never felt such hatred. I was heartbroken, as you say here. I was mad with rage. »


“It makes me feel weird to see this discrepancy in the value of human life,” he adds. Without however drawing an equal sign between armed jihad and planting bombs in an airport or a metro: “Classic fights and doing an act like that, that has nothing to do. “

Sent to the West by the migrant route, the Tunisian jihadist recognizes that this exit from Syria at war has somewhat reduced his “anger” and his “hate”. “You quickly regain your reflexes of life before. We are in a peaceful region where there are no bombings. I met a lot of people from different cultures…” Not enough to distract him from his mission.  » It’s more complicated. »

Bilal El Makhoukhi, the Brussels resident who returned from Syria seriously injured and who will have his leg amputated, has an even more radical opinion. “I see no difference between bombs falling from the sky and bombs in the subway. I don’t think one blood is different from another, ”says the man who is now confessing to having recovered the unused weapons from the terrorist cell. “If there have been attacks, it is because there have been bombardments. If you don’t say that, we only pass for psychopaths ».

Abdeslam invokes « the context »

El Makhoukhi assures us however that he took no active part in the attacks of March 22, 2016, his contact of the cell, Najim Laachraoui (the second suicide bomber of Zaventem), would not have detailed his plans to him. « The first time I saw Najim Laachraoui in Belgium, I said that I wanted to help him, but that I was planning to go back to Syria », specifies the accused. “He told me ‘the bombardments are merciless’. He told me he saw the bodies of women and children torn to pieces, that they didn’t give a damn about killing innocent people. Najim Laachraoui did what he did, but he wasn’t a liar. « He thought there was no reason that the countries doing these things in Syria should not suffer the same thing, » continues El Makhoukhi. “He was in Europe to enforce retaliation and to do something to stop the bombings. El Makhoukhi has an idealized memory of his stay in Syria. “Although it was hard”, recognizes the injured man on the zone, “I spent the best moments of my life there. I felt alive. I wouldn’t trade that for a castle life. »

« I am aware that some things can shock and hurt, but I think we are here for the manifestation of the truth and I prefer a truth that hurts rather than a lie that does good », launches for his part Salah Abdeslam, referring to the wave of attacks in Europe, a response according to him to the coalition bombings in Syria and Iraq. At the end of the hearing, Abdeslam clarified his thoughts, he who, let us remember, pleaded his innocence in the facts of March 22: « I boarded a train and it stopped on March 18 (the day of his arrest , Editor’s note), and I couldn’t get off before. March 22? Take it out of context, it’s an abominable crime scene and I’ll be the first to report it. If you put it in context, it’s more complex. »

Mohamed Abrini, the man with the hat from Zaventem, is on the same line: “We are still in this war between East and West. (…) Since September 11, 2001, things have gotten worse. I don’t endorse that. For me, we can go to war but there are rules to respect, ”says the Molenbeekois, regretting that civilians are paying the price of blood. « There are people missing in the box, and I’m not just talking about bearded men, but men in suits and ties too, » he accuses.

The interrogation of the accused will end this Thursday with additional questions from the parties (lawyers for the civil parties, the defense and the federal prosecutor’s office).

Le Soir (Belgium), 04/12/2023

#Terrorism #Attacks_Brussels #Salah_Abdeslam

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