First trial linked to 2015 Paris attacks begins

The first trial related to the November 2015 Paris terror attack began Wednesday for a man accused of harboring two militants who alleged carried out the shootings.

Victims and relatives lawyer Thibault de Montbrial (C) arrives at the courthouse on the opening day of the trial of Jawad Bendaoud, 31, accused of housing Abdelhamid Abaaoud, an Islamic State militant suspected of being the coordinator of the Paris attacks in 2015, in Paris on Wednesday. Photo by Yoan Valat/EPA-EFE
Victims and relatives lawyer Thibault de Montbrial (C) arrives at the courthouse on the opening day of the trial of Jawad Bendaoud, 31, accused of housing Abdelhamid Abaaoud, an Islamic State militant suspected of being the coordinator of the Paris attacks in 2015, in Paris on Wednesday. Photo by Yoan Valat/EPA-EFE

Jawad Bendaoud appeared in a Paris criminal court for the first day of a trial that’s expected to last three weeks. He was charged with providing shelter to Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Chakib Akrouh by renting them an apartment in Saint-Denis.

 

Abaaoud was a senior Islamic State militant suspected of coordinating the Paris attacks, in which 130 victims and seven militants died.

Dubbed the “landlord of Daesh,” by the French media using an alternative name for the Islamic State, Bendaoud, 31, said he didn’t realize the two men were involved in the attack when he offered them the place to stay.

Five days after the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks, French police conducted a raid on Bendaoud’s apartment, killing Abaaoud, Akrouh and Abaaoud’s cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen.

“I found out that these people are holed up in my place. I didn’t know that they were terrorist,” Bendaoud told French journalists as they surrounded his apartment during the raid. “I was asked to put up two people for three days, and I obliged … I didn’t know them at all.”

By Danielle Haynes