Salah Abdeslam to be extradited to France, says Belgian court

Updated 2:33 PM EDT, Thu March 31, 2016

Story highlights

It is unclear when the extradition would occur

Belgian and French authorities will now consider how to carry out the transfer

Abdeslam, 26, was the most wanted man in Europe after the Paris attacks in November

(CNN) —  

Paris terror attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam can be extradited to France, a Belgian court ruled Thursday.

Belgian and French authorities will now consider how to carry out the transfer. It was unclear Thursday when the extradition would occur.

Abdeslam was the most-wanted man in Europe following the terror attacks at several sites in Paris on November 13. Belgian authorities captured him this month after a shootout in Molenbeek, an impoverished suburb of Brussels that has also been home to several other terror suspects.

Abdeslam, 26, is being held in Belgium under a European arrest warrant issued March 19 at the demand of French authorities.

He’s one of 10 men accused of carrying out the attacks that killed 130 people in the French capital last year. Authorities believe Abdeslam may have been the driver of the black Renault Clio that dropped off three suicide bombers near the Stade de France, one of the attack sites.

Investigators think he wore a suicide belt that was later found on a Paris street after the attacks – samples taken from sweat on the belt matched Abdeslam’s DNA.

Authorities say they believe he called friends to take him to Belgium after the attacks. They passed through police checkpoints, but Abdeslam had not yet been identified as a suspect and they were allowed to continue on their way.

Authorities then began a worldwide search for him that lasted for four months, ending with his capture in a raid and shootout March 18 in Molenbeek. Abdeslam was wounded in the leg.

While in custody, he began cooperating with Belgian police and fought extradition to France, said his lawyer, Sven Mary.

But on March 22, four days after his arrest, terrorists bombed the Brussels airport and a metro station in the Belgian capital, killing 32 people and injuring 330 more.

Abdeslam then stopped cooperating with authorities, and said he wanted to be extradited to France as soon as possible, according to his lawyer.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Brussels attacks. Three suicide attackers are dead, and two other attackers are unidentified fugitives, authorities said.

Abdeslam is also believed to be connected to the Brussels attacks, even though he was in custody at the time, authorities say.

On Thursday, a federal Belgian magistrate accepted Abdeslam’s formal declaration agreeing to be extradited, and the court ordered the transfer.

Abdeslam’s brother, Ibrahim, was a suicide bomber in the Paris attacks who killed himself when he detonated explosives outside a cafe on Boulevard Voltaire.

CNN’s Margot Haddad and Lindsay Isaac contributed to this report.