Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris attacks last year that left 130 people dead, has been captured alive by police today and may have been wounded in the raid, Belgian media reports. During a massive police raid, Abdeslam, who has been on the run for months, was cornered by police and wounded in a firefight. Reports are still coming in, but it appears that Abdeslam was the only one wounded in the firefight in Brussels, Belgium, today.
French president Francois Hollande confirmed that a police operation was underway in Brussels today and that Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam was the target. Abdeslam’s fingerprints were found in a Belgian flat during another police raid earlier this week, and Belgian police were able to trace the Paris attacks suspect to another flat in Brussels.
BREAKING: Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam captured, according to Belgian police. pic.twitter.com/QUoBoTtcPB
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 18, 2016
Salah Abdeslam, 26, has been on the run ever since the Paris attacks last year, which left 130 dead and countless others wounded. Abdeslam was reportedly involved in the planning and execution of the deadly terror attacks and has been sought by police throughout Europe.
Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt confirmed that Abdeslam’s fingerprints were discovered at another raided flat earlier this week, leading police to believe that he had not fled the country to Syria as some reports had suggested. The firefight this morning confirms that Abdeslam has been hiding out in Brussels, Belgium, and has reportedly been apprehended by police.
Abdeslam reportedly escorted three suicide bombers during the Paris attacks last November, delivering them to their target at the Stade de France. Some reports suggest Abdeslam himself was wearing a suicide vest but did not detonate it. Instead, he reportedly discarded the vest and ran for his life.
Abdeslam was nearly apprehended by police after the Paris attacks, when he was stopped at a police checkpoint but was let through before police were notified of his role in the attacks. Abdeslam reportedly laid low in an apartment in the Schaerbeek district of Brussels for weeks after the attacks, while police vigorously hunted for the terror suspect throughout France and Belgium.
Reports are still coming in at this hour, but it appears that Abdeslam has been apprehended by police after being wounded in the police raid, but he has been captured alive, reports BBC News. One other terror suspect was shot dead during the firefight, Algerian national Mohamed Belkaid, also linked to the Paris attacks late last year.
BREAKING: Officials say Paris attacks fugitive Salah Abdeslam captured in Brussels in police operation after 4 months at large.
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 18, 2016
Abdeslam’s condition is unclear as of this reporting, but Belgian police have confirmed that they have apprehended Salah Abdeslam alive, and he is in police custody, bringing an end to a months-long manhunt for Abdeslam, who was reportedly the most wanted man in Europe.
Speaking with ABC News, Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt commented earlier on Abdeslam’s fingerprints, stating that they could be days or weeks old. However, the police raid today suggests strongly that they were recent, since Belgian police were able to track down Abdeslam and apprehend him.
Salah Abdeslam is reportedly the last terrorist to be apprehended in connection with the Paris attacks, as the rest are either dead or in police custody. With Abdeslam’s arrest today, the Paris attacks suspects have all been accounted for.
Ever since the attacks, Abdeslam has remained one step ahead of law enforcement, slipping through police raids on at least two separate occasions, frustrating investigators and police on the ground in Brussels, Belgium. But after Abdeslam’s arrest today, authorities in Belgium can rest easy, as the last of the Paris attackers has been apprehended and will presumably be brought to justice.
Just last month, Abdeslam’s fiancé reported that he would rather be killed than captured.
[Photo by Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images]