Brussels: Terrorist suspect denies fighting in Iraq

One of the accused in the trial against the suspected members of a Belgian network that sent kamikazes to Iraq, Younes Loukili, denied in front of the correctional court of Brussels that he had ever gone to Iraq to fight. "I don't know Iraq, I've never fought there, I'm not a terrorist," declared the 29 year old Loukili after several hours of interrogation by the judge. Loukili is suspected of being part of the network that sent Muriel Degauque to Iraq.

Degauque, from Charleoi, blew herself up on November 9th, 2005 in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. She was the first western person who blew herself up in an attack in Iraq. Two people say that Loukili lost a leg fighting in Iraq in 2004, one year before Degauque's suicide attack. But Loukili says he has lost his leg in a car accident in Syria. However, he couldn't give any details about his stay in Syria.

The accused had problem answering when the judge asked him very precise questions about it. His memory had failed him due to the medications that he took to cope with the loss of his leg. Transcriptions of MSN chat calls shows that the accused wanted to go from Iraq to Syria. The accused didn't have an answer ready when the judge confronted him with the testimony of his first wife. According to her Loukili was really in Iraq and he was injured there, but kept vague about it and reported something about a tank.

A second witness, interrogated by the Algerian police, says that the man, just like him, had sat in a Syrian jail and that he was injured from shrapnel. But Loukili can't remember anything since the events were "too traumatizing" for him. So, for example, he can't say in which hospital he was operated on after his accident and who had paid the hospital bills. He was also vague about his return to Belgium. From the investigation it appears that he traveled to Belgium via Moroccan and then by road through Spain and France. But according to him he can remember nothing of it.

Source: HLN (Dutch)

See also: Terrorism update, Belgium: Suicide bombing network, More Belgian suicide bombers

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