One of the gunmen involved in the deadly Paris shootings was thought to be a rent boy, after he was regularly seen flirting with other men in Brussels' gay bars. He also took drugs and drank alcohol, it has been claimed.
Salah Abdeslam, 26, has been on the run after gunning down crowds of Friday night revelers in cafes and bars on 13 November, in a bloody massacre that left 130 people dead.
The bartender of a club visited by him month ago, told the Sunday Times that, while Islamic State (Isis) routinely executes homosexuals, Abdeslam was very much part of the gay scene in Brussels. "We had him down as a rent boy, he was always hanging out with that kind of crowd," the bartender who did not want to be named, stated.
Abdeslam's brother Ibrahim, who blew himself up outside the Comptoire Voltaire cafe, ran a bar in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, dubbed the 'Jihadi capital of Europe'. His close friend Karim revealed that the bar was closed down a week before the Paris attacks because he had used it as a den to sell drugs.
"Brahim [Ibrahim] and Salah spent most of their days smoking hashish and playing on PlayStation in the bar,' he said. "There was nothing to suggest they were radicalised."
The revelations about Abdeslam's alleged private life contravenes the staunch moral edicts of IS. The terror group has released several propaganda images and videos of suspected homosexuals and adulterers being executed, hurled off buildings to their deaths or crucified in village squares. Those who drink alcohol or smoke are flogged or beaten.
Hasna Aitboulahcen, one of the attackers who was killed during the siege of St. Denis was also believed to be living a lifestyle entirely removed from the terror groups strict moral code. Described by friends as a "party animal" she was regarded as a woman with a "bad reputation" with a love of cigarettes and alcohol and no interest in Islam.
Abdeslam, is believed to have rented the two cars used by terrorists in the attacks, driving his brother Ibrahim and a French shooter to four restaurants in the Canal Saint Martin area of Paris where they murdered dozens of people. After being stopped by police in his car on the Brussels border, he was allowed to go after they checked his ID.
Europe's most wanted man, Abdeslam has been the subject of an international manhunt since the attacks, with 2,000 officers tasked with finding him. Abdeslam's brother Mohamed today urged Abdeslam to give himself up, saying: "That way he can give us the answers we seek, our family and the families of the victims. We would rather see Salah in prison than in the cemetery."
Brussels has been locked down in the wake of the Paris attacks, following reports of an 'imminent' attack.