The Slatest

Belgian Arms Dealer Surrenders to Police, Confesses to Role in Charlie Hebdo Attack

French soldiers patrol in front of the Eiffel Tower on Jan. 7, 2015.

Photo by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Haaretz reports that a Belgian arms dealer and “known figure in Brussels’ underworld” has surrendered to police and confessed to selling the weapons used in the Paris attacks to Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman killed by police at the Hyper Cacher kosher market.

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.

This particlar neighborhood in Brussels has acquired a reputation for these kinds of transactions, according to Lora Moftah at the International Business Times:

The area around the station, which serves as the Eurostar’s Belgian terminus, is known as a hub for illegal weapons sales. Civilians in France are prohibited from possessing military-style weapons unless they have a special certification as collectors … French police estimated that 4,000 “war weapons” were circulating in the country in 2012.

A search of the suspect’s apartment turned up evidence of the dealer’s transactions with Coulibaly, which also included the sale of Coulibaly’s Tokarev rifle. The dealer evidently turned himself in as a pre-emptive measure after learning of Coulibaly’s involvement in the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

The search continues for Hayat Boumedienne, Coulibaly’s common-law wife, who is believed to have traveled to Turkey in advance of the attacks, possibly crossing into conflict-torn Syria after investigators lost her trail near the city of Akcakale.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.