Paris Attacks Suspect Salah Abdeslam Arrested In Brussels Terror Raid

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam has been shot and wounded in an ongoing raid in the Molenbeek area of Brussels, according to Belgian media reports.

Prosecutors have not confirmed the report on Belgian website Dh.be and elsewhere.

French president François Hollande said an operation was under way in Brussels linked to the Paris attacks, but could not confirm that Abdeslam had been injured or apprehended. Gunshots and explosions were heard in the Molenbeek area.

Earlier, the Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt confirmed that Abdeslam’s fingerprints had been found at a flat that was raided in the Forest area of Brussels on Tuesday, where a shoot-out with police saw another gunman shot dead next to an Islamic State flag. Two suspects fled that raid.

Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French national who grew up in Brussels, fled Paris for Belgium by car hours after the 13 November attacks which killed 130 people. He is believed to have played a key role in organising the attacks.

Police believe he played a key role in the logistics of the Paris attacks and escorted the three suicide bombers who blew themselves up at the Stade de France as part of the coordinated attacks.

Investigators are also considering whether he planned to carry out his own suicide attack in the 18th arrondissement of the French capital, and perhaps backed out. His brother blew himself up and died at a Paris bar on Boulevard Voltaire during the attacks.

Abdeslam had called friends to drive to collect him in Paris hours after the attacks. While they were driving him back to Belgium, the car was briefly stopped at the French-Belgian border and Abdeslam’s ID was checked, but he was allowed to continue through to Belgium and has been on the run ever since, the focus of an international manhunt.

Abdeslam reportedly stayed holed up in an apartment in the Schaerbeek district in north Brussels for three weeks after the Paris attacks.

In January, Belgian authorities said they had found two apartments and a house used by Abdeslam and other suspects in the run-up to the attacks.

A fingerprint belonging to Abdeslam was found in one apartment along with traces of explosives, possible suicide belts and a drawing of a person wearing a large belt.

Authorities also found DNA traces from Bilal Hadfi, another of the attackers who blew himself up with a bomb vest near the French national stadium during the November attacks.

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