Spanish police detain suspect in October 16 Brussels attack

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Spanish police said Friday that they had arrested a man suspected of having links with an extremist gunman who killed two Swedish football fans in Brussels this month.

Officers arrested the unidentified suspect - who is wanted in Belgium for drug and arms trafficking, money laundering and membership in a criminal group - in the southern town of Benahavis, an operation carried out with the help of Spanish intelligence agency CNI, police said in a statement.

A radicalized 45-year-old Tunisian, Abdesalem Lassoued, shot and killed the Swedish fans before a Belgium-Sweden football match on October 16, and was later killed in a police operation.

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Lassoued had escaped from a Tunisian prison where he was serving a long sentence, but Belgian authorities failed to deal with an August 2022 extradition request made by Tunisian officials.

Spanish police said they opened their investigation into the suspect arrested in Benahavis after being informed by Belgian authorities that he might have had links to Lassoued.

“The investigation determined that both were linked around criminal activities related with organized crime,” the statement said.

Police searched the home of the suspect, seizing documents, electronic devices and a “significant amount of money.”

The suspect was carrying fake identity documents at the time of his arrest, police added.

French police have arrested four people as part of the investigation into Lassoued’s possible accomplices.

Police in Belgium have arrested and charged a 44-year-old Tunisian man suspected of being an accomplice to Lassoued.

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