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Islamic State Paris attack: Suspect linked to death of Jordan pilot

Swedish national is suspected of playing a role in the cell that perpetrated attacks on the French and Belgian capitals
The pilot's death caused outrage in Jordan and is being considered a possible war crime (MEE/Arwa Debaja)

A suspect in the Paris and Brussels Islamic State (IS) group attacks has been identified by Belgian police as having been among a group of IS militants who burned a Jordanian pilot alive in a cage.

Osama Krayem, a Swede of Syrian origin, has been held in Belgium since 2016 and could face war crimes charges over the murder of Maaz al-Kassasbeh, whose grisly death was filmed and put online in an incident that came to symbolise some of IS's worst and most public atrocities.

The Swedish national is suspected of playing a role in the cell that perpetrated the Paris attacks, which killed 130 people, and the Brussels attacks, which left 32 people dead. IS claimed both attacks. 

Now investigators have linked him to the killing of Kassasbeh, captured when his plane came down in an IS-held part of Syria in December 2014.

"We have been able to establish that he was there," a source close to the Belgian probe told AFP on Friday, saying Krayem could be prosecuted for a "crime against humanity".

Krayem, like other members of the Paris-Brussels cell, travelled to fight for IS in Syria in 2014 before apparently hiding among migrants to return to Europe from Syria in 2015.

According to Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure, Belgian police have identified Krayem as actively taking part in the pilot's killing.

The video of Kassasbeh's murder outraged Jordan, which stepped up air strikes on IS and executed two convicted militants on death row in response.

Belgian investigators are considering the next move now that Krayem has been linked to the pilot's killing, the source told AFP. Information could be passed on to the Jordanian authorities.

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