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Europe

Accomplice of Paris attacks mastermind held in Poland

media Mourad T. is to appear before a district court in Katowice, southern Poland. Ewkaa/Wikimedia/CC

An accomplice of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the deadly 2015 attacks in Paris, is being held in Poland over suspected participation in terrorist activity, Polish prosecutors said on Wednesday.

"During our investigation we found that between December 2014 and September 2016 Mourad T. was involved with an armed crime organisation -- an international terrorist organisation called Islamic State," prosecutors said in a statement.

This marks the first Polish investigation of an Islamic State armed group member, which the domestic counterintelligence agency ABW undertook after receiving information from its EU counterparts.

According to local media, the first intel came from the CIA.

Mourad T., born in Casablanca and now 28 years old, was detained 5 September, 2016 in Poland. If the court in the southern city of Katowice convicts him, he could get between six months to eight years in prison.

Prosecutors added that Mourad T. was an "accomplice" and "scout" of Abaaoud, who planned the November 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Mourad T. notably met with Abaaoud in the Turkish city of Edirne in late 2014, along with Sofiane Amghar and Khalid Ben Larbi, two jihadists who were killed in a terror raid in Belgium in 2015.

Mourad T. used several false identities and spent time in EU countries Austria, Greece, Hungary, as well as in non-members Turkey and Serbia.

Prosecutors added that they found instructions on how to make explosive devices and mentions of potential targets on the telephone belonging to Mourad T.

In December 2014, he left Turkey "along with other people engaged in terrorist activity" planning to go to Germany.

Instead, he entered Greece illegally, passed through Macedonia and Serbia before reaching Hungary. From there, he entered Austria, then the Czech Republic and finally Poland.

Having left his passport in Turkey, he used false documents in Serbia to pass as an under-age Syrian named Mourad Sultan.

He arrived in Austria in February 2015 and requested a permanent residence permit, which he later used in Vienna and Poland, where he was found in possession of small amounts of hashish, marijuana and MDMA tablets.

- with AFP

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