Washington : US President Barack Obama has congratulated Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and French President Francois Hollande on the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the prime suspect in the deadly Paris terror attacks.
Abdeslam was captured in a police raid in Brussels.
Four months on the run as Europe’s most wanted man, he was shot in the leg during the raid following which he was captured.
He will be thoroughly interrogated by the police as investigations in the case take a strong turn.
A statement released by the White House said the President commended the work of Belgian security services and noted that this significant arrest was the result of hard work and close cooperation between Belgian and French law enforcement authorities.
Reiterating that the United States stands together with both the countries in shared struggle against the scourge of terrorism, Obama pledged full cooperation and support in degrading and destroying the ISIL.
Abdeslam’s hideout came as a surprise as despite one of Europe’s biggest manhunts following the Paris attacks, he returned home in Molenbeek, where his parents still live.
He managed to stay hidden in the area, which is viewed by the police as a centre of recruitment and planning for jihadi terrorism.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel had in a hastily arranged joint press conference with the French president, Francois Hollande announced that three suspects were detained in total.
Hollande said Abdeslam would be quickly extradited to France, adding that the investigation was ongoing because the network was “very large in Belgium, France and other European countries”.
Meanwhile, the investigators will now have to determine Abdeslam’s role in the coordinated attacks that saw suicide bombers blow themselves up near the national stadium, gunmen open fire on bars and restaurants, and gunmen open fire with Kalashnikovs at a rock gig at the Bataclan concert hall.
At least 130 people were killed in the deadly Paris attack last November. (ANI)