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Paris attacks suspect held in Brussels

March 18, 2016 23:53 IST
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Police at the scene of a security operation in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek on Friday. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters.

Salah Abdeslam, top suspect of last year’s Paris attacks and one of the most wanted men in Europe, was arrested in Brussels on Friday night during a raid by armed security forces, French police said.

Earlier, was reported that Abdeslam was injured in the raid conducted in the suburb of Molenbeek near the Belgian capital. However, French police said that two people have been arrested, one injured and another unharmed. It did not clarify which one was Abdeslam.

Abdeslam, 26, believed to have played a key role in the November 13 attacks claimed by the Islamic State group that left 130 people dead.

The arrest came hours after prosecutors revealed that Abdeslam’s fingerprints were found in an apartment in another part of Brussels earlier this week following a raid in which a suspected IS militant was killed.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel held a crisis meeting after the arrest with French President Francois Hollande, who was in Brussels for a European Union summit.

Franco-Moroccan Abdeslam fled to Brussels after the attacks and is believed to have holed up in a flat for at least three weeks.

He slipped past three police checks in France as he fled to Belgium just hours after the terror assaults, a source close to the probe said in December.

His brother Brahim, who blew himself up in the massacre, was buried in a discreet ceremony on Thursday in Brussels.

Another of the Paris attackers, Bilal Hadfi, was buried quietly in the same cemetery in the northwest of the city last week.

The ringleader of the attacks, IS member Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was also from Brussels. He was killed in a raid in Paris in November.

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