The ISIS terror cells behind the Paris and Brussels massacres includes a trained gang of 1,000 battle-hardened jihadis, a prime suspect in the massacres has told police.
Mohamed Abrini told Belgian investigators that the extremist network was much larger than previously known and that the attacks in the French and Belgian capitals were linked.
Abrini added the Paris attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud had become an “emir” – or Muslim ruler – with “1,000 men under him, including many Belgians and French”.
He also warned that tighter checks at borders between countries was futile in preventing further attacks in Europe.
Abrini told police: “Security at the borders can never protect anyone.
“It’s just the politicians who want to delude people that they protect them, but there is usually no security. It has never been real.”
A transcript of Abrini’s interrogation also reveals that he he took photos of a football stadium in Manchester during a trip organised by Abaaoud.
The report states: “Abaaoud gave Abrini instructions: he had to go to England and get money, and he did this.
“He went to Turkey and via Istanbul went to London, travelled to Birmingham, picked up £3,000 meant for Abaaoud’s younger brother, and finally returned to Paris via Manchester.
“While he was in England, he also visited Manchester’s football stadium, took photos of it.”