Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam has been wounded and arrested in a raid in Brussels, one more has been arrested, officials have said.
Salah Abdeslam, a key figure in the organization of the Paris attacks last year, in which 130 people were killed and many more were wounded, has been shot in the leg and arrested in an anti-terrorist raid on Friday in Brussels, senior officials have said.
Abdeslam is a 26-year old French national who had resided in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels before the attacks. It was reported that he was wounded in the leg in the raid. He had eluded authorities since the November attacks. The identity of the second person that was arrested was not immediately disclosed.
The operation on Friday included two powerful explosions, and more gunfire. Reporters and witnesses say that the blasts were very powerful. The two people were barricaded inside the house,
Theo Francken tweeted about Abdeslam’s arrest, confirming that the suspected was arrested and wounded in the leg.
According to information, released by Francoise Schepmans, the mayor of the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek, where the raid took place, two people were injured in the operation.
Later the same day, the explosions took place in a Brussels neighborhood where police were searching for an additional suspect, and Belgium’s VTM television said that a third person was arrested but no additional information was given or confirmed.
Four Winds street is still surrounded by policemen, which is just around the corner from Delaunoystraat, where Abdelslam is thought to have managed to run away three days after the Paris attacks.
According to HLN, police could be heard shouting “Come out with your hands up in the air” during the raid.
Witnesses also say that smoke was seen on the street, possibly from a stun grenade, according to HLN.
The raid is taking place just 10 kilometers from the EU-Turkey summit venue.
Following the news, RTBF released information saying that the Belgian PM Charles Michel rushed out of the summit, and is expected to be joined at Belgian government offices by Interior Minister Jan Jambon.
The occasion comes just two days after the authorities arrested a Algerian-born man, in whose home they found an IS flag. Later, the man was identified as Mohamed Belkaid, who was introducing himself with the name Samir Bouzid, the RTBF news reported. He is also belived to be key figure in the plotting of the Paris attacks in November.
He had been on French and Belgian wanted lists since December, when evidence emerged of him making a cash transfer from Brussels to a woman involved in the attacks.
RTBF described the man as an accomplice of Abdeslam. The news outlet quoted an anonymous source as saying it was “more than likely” that Abdeslam fled the scene of the Tuesday raid, as his fingerprints were found at the apartment.
Written for South Front by Yoana Manoilova