Brussels Attackers Initially Planned to Strike France Again, Belgian Authorities Say

The terrorists instead turned their attention to Brussels.

ByBy Louise Dewast and David Caplan
April 10, 2016, 6:02 AM

— -- The terror group that unleashed deadly attacks on the Brussels airport and subway on March 22, had planned to launch a second attack on France -- but instead turned their attention to Brussels, Belgium's Federal Prosecution Office said Sunday.

"The Federal Prosecution Office can confirm that numerous elements in the investigation have shown that the terrorist group initially had the intention to strike in France again," the Federal Prosecution Office said in a statement to ABC News. "Eventually, surprised by the speed of the progress in the ongoing investigation, they urgently took the decision to strike in Brussels."

Two suicide bombers killed 16 people at Brussels Airport on March 22. That same morning, an explosion at Brussels' Maelbeek subway station killed another 16 people.

The announcement about the terror group's intentions follows Saturday's announcement that Mohamed Abrini, who was arrested Friday in Belgium, confessed to authorities that he is the so-called "man in the hat" who was caught on video at the scene of the Brussels airport bombing.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office said Abrini, "indeed is the third man present at the Brussels National Airport attacks."

Abrini was one of four men charged Saturday with participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist murders and attempts to commit terrorist murders.

Investigators have also found links between the cell behind the Brussels attacks and the group that killed 130 people in Paris on November 13.

Sunday's statement confirms what was previously thought: That the raids and arrests in the week leading up to the Brussels attacks pushed the terrorists to act.

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