Salah Abdeslam, 28, a French citizen born and raised by Moroccan immigrant parents in Brussels, will on Monday go on trial in the Belgian capital city of Brussels for shooting at police who raided a suspected hideout on March 15, 2016. The hideout was located in the southern borough of Forest, in Brussels. The raid was a combined effort by French and Belgian police.
Abdesalem, along with his alleged accomplice Sofien Ayari, are believed to have slipped away during the raid, leaving a third gunman to take on police before he was killed by police marksmen. Ayari is 24, from Tunisia.
Abdesalem and Ayari face up to 40 years in prison for attempted murder for linked to terrorism for shooting at police.
This is separate to the trial Abdesalem is expected to undergo in France for the November 13, 2015, attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris that saw 130 people killed. That trial is expected to only begin next year.
The trial has triggered a high alert in the Belgian capital, which has already seen 32 people killed in suicide bombings at its airport and on its metro system on March 22, 2016, carried out by members of the same Islamic State-inspired group.
The March Brussels attack came four days after Abdesalem’s arrest. Police believe it was triggered by fears among the members of his cell in Brussels that he would betray their plans while under interrogation.
It is believed that more than 100 police officers will be deployed around the Palace of Justice in Brussels during the trial.