The mother of three terrorist brothers who attacked Paris on Friday has said one of her sons did not mean to kill anyone and may have been “stressed”. Speaking through a relative, she said: “maybe the explosives went off prematurely by accident.”
Despite acknowledging one of her son had spent “a long time” in Syria, she was “surprised” he was a terrorist.
Ibrahim Abdeslam, 31, attacked the cafe Comptoir Voltaire, near the Bataclan. His brother Mohamed was arrested in Brussels on Saturday, and a third brother, Salah, is now the most wanted man in the world after making an escape.
The mother was speaking through her nephew on the doorstep of the family home in the largely Muslim Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels, which has been liked to every single Islamist terror attack in Europe this year.
She told Het Laatste Nieuws that Ibrahim didn’t plan to kill anyone.
“This was not his plan, that’s for sure,” she said. “The fact that his suicide belt exploded without killing anyone says a lot.”
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The nephew added: “We even saw him two days before the attacks. There were no signs that they has plans to do anything violent” despite admitting he had spent “a long time” in Syria.
He said Ibrahim would not have wanted to become a suicide bomber: “Maybe the explosives went off prematurely by accident. Maybe it was stress.”
They were especially surprised that Salah, who is on the run, was involved.
“Ibrahim was different. We did see that he had been radicalised, at least in part. But not so much that we ever thought he would commit an atrocity like this.”
Over all, the family was utterly mystified: “We didn’t know anything, we have a mother here who’s devastated. Of course we are thinking of the families in Paris”, said the nephew.
Adding: “At no point could we have thought that my brothers were involved in this. We did not know that my brothers had been radicalised. We only found out about this on television.”