ISIS fanatics behind Paris terror attack that killed 130 people abandoned similar plan for Britain because of UK’s ‘better surveillance and more advanced secret service’
- 20 alleged members of ISIS cell that murdered 130 in Paris in 2015 are on trial
- Among them is Mohamed Abrini, 36, who admitted he travelled to the UK
- The Belgian national took pictures inside buildings that attract large crowds
- They included Old Trafford stadium and Arndale shopping centre in Manchester
ISIS killers responsible for the most lethal terrorist attack ever in France abandoned plans for a similar atrocity in Britain because it has a ‘more advanced secret service’ and ‘better surveillance’.
The revelation comes as 20 alleged members of the cell that murdered 130 people in Paris on November 15 2015 are judged in the city.
Some face multiple life sentences if found guilty following a nine-month criminal trial, which begins on Wednesday.
Among them is Mohamed Abrini, a 36-year-old Belgian national, who is also said to have been involved in attacks in Brussels in March 2016, in which 32 died.
During pre-trial interviews with prosecutors, Abrini admitted travelling to Britain in July 2015 – just four months before the Paris massacre – and taking pictures inside buildings that attract large crowds.
They included Old Trafford, the home stadium of Manchester United Football Club, and the Arndale shopping centre.
Abrini had just come back from the Islamic State stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, and was also collecting cash in the UK.
Mohamed Abrini (left), a 36-year-old Belgian national, admitted travelling to Britain in July 2015 – just four months before the Paris massacre – and taking pictures inside buildings that attract large crowds. Judges are hoping that Abrini will be cross-examined in the trial, in which his old friend, Salah Abdeslam, 31, (right) is also being tried. Abdeslam is the only surviving member of the 10 suicide bomber ISIS cell that carried out the Friday 13 attacks.
The body of a victim is seen covered, along the sidewalk outside the Bataclan concert venue where 90 were murdered by Islamist shooters in Paris in attacks across the city on November 14, 2015
But he insisted that there were ‘no plans for an attack in London, Birmingham, or Manchester’ because Britain has a ‘more advanced secret service’ than the French.
He also said that ‘better surveillance’ in the UK made a Paris-style ‘commando operation’ far less likely to succeed, according to prosecution papers.
Beyond Manchester, Abrini also travelled to Birmingham, where he took pictures of the city’s Bull Ring & Grand Central – the largest shopping centre in Britain.
Despite Abrini’s claims, Manchester was in fact hit by a devastating Islamist terrorist attack in May 2017.
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, killed 23 people and wounded more than 1000, when he detonated a bomb at the Manchester Arena following a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande.
Abrini is among 20 men linked to the Paris terror attacks who will be in the dock for the biggest criminal trial ever to be held in France.
Judges are hoping that Abrini will be cross-examined in the trial, in which his old friend, Salah Abdeslam, 31, is also being tried.
Abdeslam is the only surviving member of the 10 suicide bomber ISIS cell that carried out the Friday 13 attacks.
He was meant to blow himself up outside the Stade de France, where France were playing Germany in a football international attended by 80,000 people including President Francois Hollande.
Instead, he threw his explosives belt in a bin while others in the cell carried out attacks on cafés and restaurants in Paris, as well as the Bataclan concert venue, where 90 were murdered.
French police with protective shields walk in line near the Bataclan concert hall following the attack in Paris in November 14, 2015
Abdelhamid Abaaoud (left), also known as Abu Umar al-Baljiki, was killed in a raid by security forces in Paris five days after the November attacks. He is believed to have been one of the masterminds of the terror. Fabien Clain (right) claimed responsibility for the attacks in an audio recording. He was later killed in airstrike while fighting for ISIS in Syria
Abdeslam fled and after a four-month manhunt was arrested at a flat in Brussels following a shoot-out.
Days later, suicide bombers from the same cell hit Brussels airport and the city’s underground train network.
Of the 20 involved in the Paris process, six will be tried in their absence because five are presumed dead in Iraq or Syria, and one is in prison in Turkey.
Their victims in Paris included Englishman Nick Alexander, 31, from Weeley, Essex, who died in the Bataclan.
Matthieu Chirez, a lawyer for 21 Bataclan survivors from the UK and Ireland, said the trial would be ‘a search for the truth’.
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