The elusive eighth Paris attacker and one of three brothers implicated in the atrocity reportedly frequented gay clubs before the attack. He may have backed out of his mission at the last minute, and is possibly on the run from Islamic State as well as authorities.
“We had him down as a rent boy, he was always hanging out with that kind of crowd,” said Julien, a bartender at a gay club Salah Abdeslam visited as recently as a month ago.
His brother, Ibrahim, who blew himself up outside the Comptoire Voltaire Cafe, ran a bar in Brussels’ now-infamous Molenbeek district. Their friend Karim told the Sunday Times that the bar was closed down a week before the attacks because Ibrahim had used it as a den to sell drugs.
“[Ibrahim] and Salah spent most of their days smoking hashish and playing on Playstation in the bar,” he said.
Islamic State, who ordered the deadly attacks on the French capital, consider drug use and homosexuality sins, and routinely throws gay men to their deaths off of high buildings.
A Belgian website is now reporting that Salah, the only surviving terrorist to take part in the Paris attacks, approached a friend in Brussels when on the run on 17th of November, five days after the attacks.
He said the attacks had “gone too far” and that he regretted the part he played.
Police initially believed he merely acted as a driver. Increasingly, however, investigator are entertaining the view that he was supposed to play a more direct and violent roll in the killings, but backed out at the last minute, the Independent reports.
His brother has appeared on Belgian television, urging his younger sibling to hand himself into the police. Salah, however, reportedly told the friend in Brussels that he feared doing so because Islamic State would take revenge against his family.
Salah, therefore, already the most wanted man in Europe, might also be on the run from the world’s most feared terrorists organisation. And the alleged revelations about his sexuality are likely to put him in even graver danger.
The Belgian capital remains on complete lock down, expecting an “imminent attack”. Police carried out no less than 24 raids across the country overnight, detaining 21 people but failing to capture Salah, their primary target.
One man is reported to have crashed his car into a police car before being arrested; another was shot in the arm. No guns or explosives were found.
…the surreal sight of soldiers keeping watch on the Grand Place in Brussels among the gothic columns… pic.twitter.com/ul5oMM186o
— Stuart Webb (@Worldwidewebb1) November 22, 2015
So politicians tell us our societies won't change because of the threat of terrorism – really…? pic.twitter.com/2WNc9tTMor
— Stuart Webb (@Worldwidewebb1) November 21, 2015