Belgian Arms Dealer Confesses to Supplying Paris Attackers

The terrorists who killed 17 people in three days last week purchased their Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers in Brussels for less than 5,000 euros.

Said and Cherif Kouachi fire their automatic assault rifles after massacring staff at the Charlie Hebdo magazine. AP

The terrorists who perpetrated the attacks in Paris last week got their weapons from an arms dealer in Brussels.

The dealer, a known figure in Brussels’ underworld, turned himself in to local police on Tuesday, according to Belgian media.

Federal police, who searched the suspect’s apartment, found papers linking him to a transaction with Amedy Coulibaly, the jihadist who murdered four Jewish men and held others hostage at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in east Paris on Friday.

According to the local press, the man sold Coulibaly the Skorpion submachine guns he used in the attack, as well as the rocket propelled grenade launcher and the Kalashnikov automatic assault rifles that Said and Cherif Kouachi used to perpetrate the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. The weapons were purchased near the Midi railway station in downtown Brussels for less than 5,000 euros, according to the reports.

French media reports Wednesday morning said that the funding for the arms purchase was simply a standard loan of 6,000 euros ($7,050) that Coulibaly took out on December 4 from the French financial-services firm Cofidis. He used his real name but falsely stated his monthly income on the loan declaration, a statement the company didn't bother to check, the reports say.

The Paris attackers reportedly purchased their weapons near the Midi railway station in downtown Brussels. Reuters

The suspect, a known arms smuggler and dealer in the underworld, from the town of Charleroi, turned himself in on Tuesday to the Charleroi police and asked to confess to supplying the weapons. He told police that a few months ago Coulibaly had initiated contact with him, seeking to buy a car. The man said that once he realized that Coulibaly was a jihadist terrorist, he feared that the detectives would reach him because of the link between them.

In a search of his apartment, police found not only the papers regarding the car sale, but also proof of Coulibaly’s other purchases — arms and ammunition. According to a police source quoted in the Belgian newspaper La Libre, the documents seized in the dealer’s apartment also contain evidence of the transaction involving the 7.62-millimeter Tokarev rifle that Coulibaly carried when he burst into the Hyper Cacher supermarket and opened fire, killing four.