US designates surviving Paris attacker as ‘global terrorist’

US designates surviving Paris attacker as ‘global terrorist’
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The Obama administration on Tuesday designated the sole surviving suspect of last November’s deadly terror attacks in Paris as a "global terrorist," imposing sanctions to freeze any assets in U.S. jurisdiction and forbid Americans to do business with him.

The 26-year-old suspect, Salah Abdeslam, was arrested in Belgium nearly three weeks ago, days before a series of blasts ripped through Brussels’s airport and a metro station, killing 32 people.

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According to the State Department’s Tuesday morning designation, he is “an operative” of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and had an integral role in the November Paris attacks.

“Today’s action further notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Abdeslam was actively engaged in terrorism,” the State Department said in a statement. 

“Terrorism designations is one of the ways the United States can expose and isolate organizations and individuals engaged in terrorism, impose serious sanctions on them, and enable coordinated action across the U.S. government and with our international partners to disrupt the activities of terrorists,” it added.

Abdeslam was originally planning to blow himself up along with the nine other Paris attackers, who have been linked to ISIS, French prosecutors and the State Department have said. But he backed out at the last moment.

"There would have been more victims had I done it," Abdeslam told his brother, Mohamed, the brother said after the two met in Abdeslam’s Belgian prison cell. "Luckily, I couldn't go through with it."

The Nov. 13 attacks killed 130 people.

The State Department claimed on Tuesday that witnesses spotted him driving a car “full of” fellow gunmen, and that authorities found his DNA on a discarded suicide belt and explosives in a Brussels apartment.