Mother of Paris attacker: I missed warning signs

Mother of terrorist who blew himself up outside soccer stadium in Paris admits she didn't realize her son was radicalized.

Ben Ariel ,

Stade de France after bombings
Stade de France after bombings
Reuters

The mother of one of the Paris attackers told a local Belgian television station that she had missed the warning signs, and not spotted that her son had been radicalized, AFP reported Sunday.

Fatima Hadfi, who said she was the mother of Bilal Hadfi who blew himself up outside the Stade de France in Paris, phoned into Maghreb TV late Saturday, surprising the presenter.

In the recording of the call on the station's website, she complained that the French authorities were still holding her son's body and she could not understand why it had not been released for burial, according to AFP.

The presenter asked her to explain how Bilal Hadfi, 20, had become involved with the jihadist attackers from the Islamic State (ISIS), several of whom came from Brussels, and why she had not seen any warning signs before he left for Syria in February.

"You could not see anything (different) with him. He was like everybody else," Fatima Hadfi said.

"He was a good boy, friendly and helpful but despite all that, they knew how to get around him," she added.

Asked what role her son had played in the attacks, she replied, "I have no idea at all."

AFP noted that press reports Saturday said the Belgian authorities were questioning staff at Bilal Hadfi's college in Brussels after warnings that he was becoming radicalized were missed.

The college reportedly informed the education authorities of their concerns in April after he went to Syria but the warning was not passed on to police and only came to light after the November 13 attacks.

Fatima Hadfi told Maghreb TV that she was sure that people listening to her would wonder how she could not have noticed any changes in her son's behavior.

"I have said that to myself. I should have listened more closely, I should have been closer to my children," she said.

Police in Belgium continue to search for suspects in the Paris attacks, and have conducted several raids in the country, particularly in the Molenbeek district of Brussels where the terrorists are believed to have come from.

Belgium's security services were on the defensive after the attacks when they were accused of blunders, infighting and worrying leniency towards radicalism that let the perpetrators of the Paris attacks slip under the radar.

A worldwide search is underway for key suspect Salah Abdeslam, 26, who is thought to have been the driver of a black Renault Clio that dropped off three suicide bombers near the Stade de France the night of November 13.

Belgian police failed to locate Abdeslam in the raids after the Paris attacks, and it is believed he was successful in fleeing to Germany.

Previously, senior officials in Hungary said Abdeslam traveled to Budapest before the Paris attacks where he "recruited a team" from unregistered migrants passing through.



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