The “man in the hat” charged in the deadly Brussels terror attacks said the airport bombers initially planned to attack boarding areas for flights heading to the U.S., Russia and Israel, French media reported.
Mohamed Abrini — the Belgian-Moroccan terror suspect who was arrested last week and has confessed to being the man in the black hat seen with the bombers in airport surveillance video from the March 22 attacks — insisted he “would not hurt a fly,” but revealed intimate details about the synchronized blasts that killed 32 people, The Daily News reports.
The 31-year-old claimed that the two suicide bombers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui, planned to set off bombs near gates for flights heading to the U.S., Russia and Tel Aviv, France’s BFM-TV reported. However, on the day of the attack, they blew themselves up at the check-in counter instead.
On Thursday, a judge ordered Abrini to stay in police custody for another month as investigators continue to probe the attacks.
Abrini — who was seen walking with Bakraoui and Laachraoui just moments before the attack — fled from the airport unharmed. A third, undetonated suicide belt was found at the scene. Investigators said it belonged to Abrini, who bailed before he could set it off.
Abrini, charged with terrorist murder for his role in the attacks, admitted that he knew the airport bombers and a third who targeted a nearby subway, but maintained he did not plan to harm anyone.
“I would not hurt a fly,” he told a Brussels court Thursday.
He also denied traveling to Syria and becoming radicalized — both key points in prosecutor’s arguments against him.
He admitted that he was friends with Salah Abdelsam, a key suspect in the November terror attacks on Paris who was arrested in Belgium just days before the Brussels massacre.
The dual airport bombs and the metro station blast killed 32 people and injured more than 300 others. At least six people were arrested during anti-terror raids last week: Abrini and three others were charges while two were released.
The November Paris attacks were even more deadly. Terrorists targeted a football stadium, a music hall and a row of trendy restaurants, killing 129 people.