After months of pursuit, Belgian police yesterday arrested Salah Abdeslam, a prime suspect in the Paris attacks which killed 130 people in November last year. Abdeslam was arrested during a raid in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek. Security sources confirmed that Abdeslam was wounded in the leg whilst he was being arrested and that another person was arrested with him, the identity of the second person is not known.
The search to find Abdeslam sped up after his fingerprints were found in an apartment that had been searched by police in Brussels on Tuesday.
Belgium’s Asylum and Migration State Secretary Theo Francken announced Abdeslam’s arrest by tweeting “We got him” minutes after the French police’s announcement that the suspect had been arrested in the Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels where many members of ISIS who participated in the Paris attacks live.
Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French national of Moroccan descent had been living in Molenbeek. He embraced extremist ideology and it is believed that he played an important logistical role in the Paris attacks. Relatives of his are said to have smuggled him into Belgium from France.
The Belgian State Security Service said that the security operation had been scheduled to take place today but that a report confirming that Abdeslam’s fingerprints were found at a flat that was raided in south Brussels a few days ago led them to quickly take action.
While Belgium officials and citizens welcomed the announcement of arrest of the most wanted man in the Paris attacks, the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted a picture of himself with French President Francois Hollande and other European officials. Michel said he had been following the crackdown in Brussels with Hollande on the sidelines of a European summit on the subject of immigration.