Salah Abdeslam, the last suspected participant in last year's deadly Paris attacks still alive, refused to blow himself on that day claims his brother.
Mohamed Abdeslam told French news channel BFM TV that his brother, who is believed by authorities to be the ringleader of the French terror cell that killed 130 in last November's atrocities, "voluntarily chose not to blow himself up" along with his jihadist comrades.
"There would have been more victims had I done it," Salah Abdeslam reportedly told his brother, who repeated his words to the media. "Luckily, I couldn't go through with it."
Mohamed was himself arrested in the days following the attacks in France, but was cleared of any involvement by police. He claimed to be repeating a conversation he had with his brother in a Belgian prison cell.
Abdeslam, 26, was arrested in Brussels on 18 March after four months spent hunted as arguably Europe's most wanted man. He is thought to have co-ordinated the attacks, which took place in a wave at several locations in Paris on 13 November, on behalf of Islamic State (Isis). Brussels was attacked by jihadis with suspected links to his cell four days after his arrest, leaving another 31 dead.
According to his lawyer, Abdeslam has agreed to co-operate with French investigators, and is due to be extradited from Belgium. His exact role in the bombings remains unclear, though he is thought to have driven other jihadis to one of their targets, the Stade de France in northern Paris, before backing out. An explosive belt was found dumped in a bin near where Salah called friends to drive him back to Brussels.
The Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders has said that investigators believed Abdeslam had also been planning to attack Brussels, though his lawyers deny he had prior knowledge of the attacks on the Belgian capital on 22 March.
Salah Abdeslam has been linked to two of the perpetrators of the Brussels attacks: metro bomber Khalid El Bakraoui rented a flat in the city at which Abdeslam's fingerprints were found, while airport attacker Najim Laachraoui is known once to have driven to Hungary with him.