Homeland Security Network Blog
Paris Attack Suspects Changed When They 'Stopped Drinking and Started Praying,' Brother Says
By Louise Dewast and Emily Shapiro
Two brothers suspected of being involved in the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people began to change roughly six months before when they "stopped drinking and started praying," their brother told Belgian broadcasting network RTBF.
Mohamed Abdeslam told RTBF he saw his brothers Salah, a fugitive, and Brahim, a suicide bomber who officials said died on Boulevard Voltaire, two or three days before they left. He said the pair told their mother they were going skiing sometime before the attacks in Paris last Friday.
"I didn't notice anything. There were no goodbyes," said Mohamed Abdeslam.
He said his brothers "started changing maybe six months ago."
"[They] stopped drinking and started praying, but nothing to suggest they had been radicalized," Abdeslam said. "I believe they were manipulated more than radicalized."
Police have issued an arrest warrant for Salah Abdeslam, 26, who authorities said left Paris after the attacks and returned to his hometown in the Brussels area. He has been described as armed and dangerous.
Two of Salah's friends, who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation, said Salah called them Tuesday evening and said he was in hiding in the Brussels area but was desperately trying to get to ISIS territory in Syria.
"I am convinced that what happened is that Salah changed his mind," said his brother. "He’s very intelligent, and he probably saw or heard something he was not expecting."
Abdeslam, who was initially detained in Molenbeek, Belgium, but later released, has publicly urged his brother to turn himself in to police.
"We’d rather see him in jail than in a cemetery," he said.
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