One Year Ago — Paris Attacks : Belgium Formally Charges Yassine Atar

“Over the past year, according to police documents, the police have been piecing together Mr. [Yassine] Atar’s role in the network. He is a cousin of the brothers Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, who on March 22, 2016, carried out the Brussels attacks by setting off suicide bombs at an airport and in a subway station. (…) The Belgian authorities suspect that a brother of Mr. Atar, Oussama Atar, was a leader of the Brussels network. Oussama Atar remains at large.”

June 2 2017)

Telephone data links Yassine Atar to the Paris attacks

BELGIUM — June 5 2017 — The federal prosecutor said that a man has been formally charged in connection with the deadly November 2015 Paris attacks.  Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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RELATED POST: Paris attacks — Belgium formally charges Yassine Atar

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UPDATE (June 5 2018) — Today, Yassine Atar is extradited to France, where he will be charged for his role in the murder of 132 people.  END of UPDATE

The suspect has not been fully identified but has been described as a Belgian national named as Yassine A.

The man charged is thus believed to be 30-year-old Yassine Atar, who was arrested in March 2016, five days after the attacks in Brussels. [NOTE: In Paris, 130 people were killed while 32 more died in Brussels.]

His brother Oussama, who remains at large, is suspected of coordinating both attacks. (UPDATE: On February 22 2018, Oussama Atar was reported dead.)

The Atars are cousins of Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, the two brothers who detonated themselves in Brussels.

 

Telephone data links Yassine Atar to the Paris attacks

Yassine Atar is suspected of being the group’s “communications chief”, the one who acquired the SIM cards used by the Parisian commandos

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Two prepaid SIM cards were bought in the same Brussels store on November 13 2015.

They were activated near Yassine Atar’s house. The two phones equipped with these cards were used to contact the accomplices in Paris.

The first handset was found in a trash bin not far from the Bataclan. The second was used by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the head of the Parisian commandos.

Yassine Atar is also thought to be linked to the two phones used in Brussels soon after the Paris attack. They were used to contact Abaaoud and his cousin.

The two devices were detected near the Porte de Hal in Saint-Gilles — Brussels — while Yassine Atar was near there.

TIMELINE

1985 May 4 — Born in Laeken, Belgium

1999/2000 — First visit to Syria. Lives in Idlib

2002 — Ousama Atar travels to Syria

2004 — Atar goes back in 2004 before travelling to Iraq.

2005 — Arrested in Ramadi for crossing the border illegally/weapons trafficking

2005 May 24 —  Life sentence

2006 May — The CIA informs the Belgian Intelligence Services that Oussama Atar is jailed at Cropper Camp in Iraq.

2006 — A Belgian Intelligence officer — André Jacob — is sent to Iraq to interview Oussama Atar. The ‘interview’ lasted about one week.

2007 February 28 — Under pressure from the Belgian government, the sentence is reduced to 10 years

2008 April 9 — Atar’s release from jail is decided at the highest level of the Belgian Government by the Comité Ministeriel de Renseignement et de la Sureté [CMRS].

2008 April 18 — The Belgian Foreign Ministry requests Atar’s release. In exchange, it offers promises that will be monitored and not allowed to travel (no passport).

2009  — A letter sent from the US Embassy to Belgian officials in Jordan outlines how Atar attempted a  prison break with terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

2010 May — Amnesty International raises concerns about Atar’s  general state of well-being to the Iraqi authorities

2010 Summer — Atar receives a consular visit from the Belgian embassy in Amman

2010 October 9 — The Belgian government [Website of Foreign Affairs] publicly reveals that repeated requests were made by Belgium to the Iraqi government to consider an early release of Oussama Atar for humanitarian reasons

2010 October 9 — Belgian politicians Zoé Genot, Ahmed Mouhssine, Jamal Ikazban and Ahmed El Khannouss participate in a campaign to free Oussama Atar

2010 November 14 — Amnesty International “call for action” to activists. “Oussama Atar, a 26-year-old Belgian national, is in need of urgent medical care at al-Rusafa Prison in Iraq.” [This information is false]

2012 September 16 —  Oussama Atar returns to Belgium

2013 — Belgian Foreign Ministry delivers a passport to Oussama Atar

2013 December 30 — Atar is arrested in Hammamet, Tunisia. He is released and disappears. He later reappears in the Syria-Irak area.

2015 (Summer) — Belgian Police learns that Khalid El Bakraoui asked friends to gather “as much Kalashnikov ammunition as possible”.

2015 October 21 — Khalid El Bakraoui’s house is searched. Investigators find “calls for jihad” and “photos of known terrorists” on his laptop. Nothing is done. He is NOT arrested.

2015 November 13 — Paris attacks

2015 December — After the arrest of two “returnees” from Syria, the investigators learned about known as ‘Abu Ahmad’,  a terrorist involved in recruiting a number of Islamist militants for attacks in Europe. Later, a computer — found in garbage — establishes the identity of Abu Ahmad as Oussama Atar.

2016 March 22 — Brussels attacks

2017 June 2 — Yassine Atar — brother of Oussama — is charged with ‘terrorist assassinations’

2018 February 22 — Oussama Atar is reported dead

REFERENCES

Belgium formally charges man in connection with Paris attacks — BBC

Paris attacks: new telephone data links Yassine Atar to the Paris attacks  — Brussels Times

Cousin of Brussels Bombers Is Charged With Ties to Terrorist Network — NYT

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Paris attacks — Belgium formally charges Yassine Atar

One Year Ago — Paris Attacks : Belgium Formally Charges Yassine Atar

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