“We need to act as quickly as possible and we have decided to act tomorrow, Tuesday March 22, in the morning, because we don’t have any safe houses anymore — there is nobody left.”
According to police records, however, the explosives he used were made for a far larger series of attacks, with potential targets including museums, military barracks, government offices, nuclear sites, Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, a French Catholic youth group, a royalist group, and a punk group.
The overall investigation involves about 40 suspects, official police records show, of whom 14 are dead and 16 under arrest in France or Belgium, with several others held abroad and at least two still being sought.
During the trial last month, Mr. Ayari, unlike Mr. Abdeslam, spoke elaborately, minimizing his role in the network and claiming not to know names put to him, while refusing to answer some questions.
He is expected to go on trial in Brussels again next year, in front of a jury, alongside another 10 people suspected of involvement in the Brussels attacks. Salah Abdeslam is expected to be charged over that case as well. A separate trial regarding the Paris attacks will take place in the French capital, with some of the same suspects.