Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam will not fight extradition to France

Abdeslam has said he "didn't know" about the Brussels terror plot

Salah Abdeslam, brussels, court, terrorism, appearance, Belgium

File photo

The chief suspect in the Paris attacks has claimed he "didn't know" about the Brussels terror plot, according to his lawyer.

The denial by Salah Abdeslam comes amid mounting evidence of strong links between the extremists that carried out this week's Belgium bombings and those behind the atrocities in the French capital last November.

Abdeslam, who was captured in Brussels last week after four months on the run following the bombing and shooting rampage in Paris that left 130 people dead, has also said he will no longer fight extradition to France.

Defence lawyer Sven Mary said his client, a French citizen, wanted to return as "quickly as possible" to "explain himself".

It had previously been indicated that the suspect would fight extradition to France.

Prosecutors have said the 26-year-old has been charged with "terrorist murder".

Abdeslam has told Belgian authorities he abandoned his suicide vest before the shootings and bombings started.

He fled Paris immediately after the attacks, making his way back to the Belgian capital, where he was finally tracked down and arrested last Friday during a major police operation in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.

Speaking shortly after Abdeslam was apprehended, French President Francois Hollande said he wanted Abdeslam to be transferred to France as quickly as possible.

Abdeslam suffered leg injuries before he was arrested, and required hospital treatment. He has since been discharged and has faced questioning from the authorities.

Today's court appearance comes as Belgian police continue their search for suspects believed to have been involved in Tuesday's terror attacks in Brussels.

Local media have reported police examining CCTV footage believe another man was involved in the bombing on the metro and could be on the run.

It had previously been thought a lone suicide bomber, Khalid El Bakraoui, had carried out the devastating strike.

The suspect was captured by surveillance cameras in the metro on Tuesday carrying a large bag alongside Khalid, although it is not known if he was also killed in the attack.

Khalid's brother, Ibrahim, was one of two suicide attackers who targeted Brussels airport the same day.

It has emerged his accomplice, who also blew himself up, was Najim Laachraoui, 24, identified as the bomb maker in the Paris terror attacks.