Paris: The prime surviving suspect for the November 13 Paris attacks planned to blow himself up at a sports stadium with fellow Islamic State militants but backed out at the last moment, he told Belgian investigators on Saturday.
Salah Abdeslam stated before investigators after his arrest in Brussels that on November 13 he should have done a suicide bombing with his belt full of explosives like the other three terrorists at the Stade de France, but he backed out.
The prosecutor in Paris, Francois Molins, described Abdeslam, who was formally charged on Saturday with terrorist murder, as "a key player" in the terrorist attacks that left 130 people killed, Efe news agency reported.
The prosecutor said that Abdeslam "had a leading role in organising the units", in preparing the logistics, and was also a member of those terrorist groups.
The suspected terrorist stated after his capture on Friday in Brussels following a gun battle that "he wanted to blow himself up in the Stade de France, but backed out," the prosecutor said.
Nonetheless, the French prosecutor said the terrorist's story should be taken "with a grain of salt" because a number of elements seem to contradict it and "for which we need an explanation".
In the first place, the pros3ecutor said, Abdeslam drove the three terrorists to the Stade de France on the north side of Paris, where they detonated their belts full of explosives, but he went with the vehicle in which he transported them to the 13th arrondissement of Paris. According to a later communique from the jihadi Islamic State, this was the scene of one of the attacks that night.
Molins repeated that Belgium will hand Abdeslam over to France within a period of two months.
He added that, though the terrorist's lawyer has said he will oppose the transfer, that might delay the procedure but the opposition would not stop it.