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Mohamed Abrini: ‘We Played PlayStation, Drank Coffee before Suicide Operation’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Suspected Man in the Hat captured in Brussels. REUTERS

Brussels-Details of the last few hours before bombing Brussels’ Airport on the 22nd of March have begun to emerge based on confessions of one of the involved in the attacks, who is known as the “man in the hat”, Mohamed Abrini.

Abrini, who chose not to blow himself up, confirmed that the two extremist suicide bombers, Najim Laachraoui and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, were playing PlayStation on Monday night and headed to the airport on Tuesday. They had some coffee then went together to perform the operation; Belgian people and media questioned their calmness.

Abrini explained to detectives what had happened on Thursday, and he told them how he spent the last days with Ibrahim and Najim. The Public Prosecution knew that the bombs were prepared on Sunday 20 March in an apartment on Max Ross Street in Schaerbeek.

On Monday, according to Abrini, they called a cab to take them to Brussels Airport and as they arrived, the three of them started checking out departure trips on the board.

They precisely chose departure trips to Russia, United States, and Israel, and then they had some coffee at DÉLIFRANCE coffee shop.

Laachraoui and El Bakraoui blew themselves up whereas the man in the hat decided to throw his bag and leave the place.

Dutch researcher at LEIDEN University in Holland explained that how the suicide bombers spent their last hours is expected since the human mind refuses death as an idea, thus people who know they will die soon tend to act normally.

The researcher also revealed that ISIS militants fear death only because it will keep them from contributing to the jihad.

In written statements handed to a judge ahead of his court appearance today, Abrini reportedly said “I didn’t want to do it. I would never hurt a fly.”

He told police that the plan was to explode three bombs, one in front of a check-in desk for a U.S. airline, and the other two at the check-ins for an Israeli and a Russian company.

“But I never intended to explode my bomb. I waited until the other two bombs were detonated and then I slipped away.”

“I threw away my jacket and hat and I bought a cap in a second-hand shop to hide my face,” Abrini added.

In his testament that was found in a computer, Mohamed Abrini manifested his desire to die as a “martyr,” a few months before his arrest. Arrested alive after the Brussels attacks, it has nevertheless continued to minimize his role to investigators.

According to BFM TV, which reveals information, the will was in a computer, discovered by a municipal employee on the day of the attacks in a nearby garbage hideout which had left the Brussels airport terrorists.

The main reason behind joining ISIS was the death of his elder brother Suleiman Abrini in Syria in 2014.