Police arrest Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam in Brussels raid

Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris terrorist attacks who had been on the run since last year, has been arrested, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders confirmed Friday.

"Prosecutors have confirmed the arrest of Salah Abdeslam. Congratulations to the different security services," Reynders wrote on Twitter.

"We've got him," State Secretary Theo Francken also tweeted.

Abdeslam is believed to have joined his brother and other extremists in targeting the Stade de France stadium, the Bataclan concert hall, restaurants and bars during the November attacks in the French capital, which left 130 people dead and hundreds injured.

The police operation that reportedly led to the arrest of Abdeslam and another person was still ongoing. A third suspect is still being sought, the broadcaster RTBF reported.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and French President Francois Hollande, who happened to be in Brussels for an EU summit, are expected to jointly address the press on Friday evening. Belgian federal prosecutors also scheduled a press conference for 8:30 pm (1930 GMT).

Abdeslam was arrested during a police raid in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, where he used to live before the Paris attacks. The broadcaster RTBF reported that the 26-year-old sustained a leg injury during the operation.

The raid followed news that Abdeslam's fingerprints had been found in a Brussels apartment where a shootout with police had occurred on Tuesday. According to some Belgian media reports, that finding led police to carry out the raid in Molenbeek.

Gunmen had opened fire on police on Tuesday as they attempted to search the apartment in the southern Brussels neighbourhood of Forest.

A 35-year-old Algerian armed with a Kalashnikov rifle was killed during the incident, while two suspects managed to escape.

Investigators then determined that the dead suspect, Mohamed Belkaid, had previously been sought in connection with the Paris terrorist attacks. Belkaid was "most probably" the person using the false identity of Samir Bouzid, who had ties to Abdeslam, prosecutors said.

Bouzid was one of two men whom Belgian police were seeking because they had travelled with Abdeslam to Hungary last September. The two men had used fake Belgian identity cards. Other activities linked to the Paris attacks had also been carried out in these names.

Last update: Fri, 18/03/2016 - 19:37
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