London: Salah Abdeslam, the prime suspect in the deadly terrorist attacks on Paris was finally captured in a police raid in Brussels after four months on the run as Europe’s most wanted man and will be thoroughly interrogated by the police as investigations in the case take a strong turn.
According to Guardian, the 26-year-old was shot in the leg during the raid following which he was captured alive.
“We got him,” the Belgian secretary of state for asylum and migration tweeted after a series of raids were carried out on buildings in Brussels where Abdeslam grew up.
His hideout came as a surprise, as despite one of Europe’s biggest manhunts following the Paris attacks, Abdeslam returned home in Molenbeek, where his parents still live. He managed to stay hidden in the area, which is viewed by police as a centre of recruitment and planning for jihadi terrorism.
Abdeslam was caught alive in a vast but relatively short security operation in Molenbeek, just over an hour after heavy armed police squads descended on several addresses at once.
Armed officers in riot gear could be heard shouting “Come out with your hands up” in front of one building, before grenades appeared to be used and gunfire was heard.
Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel in a hastily arranged joint press conference with the French president, FranÃ§ois 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”.
He added: “We know there are links which always lead us to Syria, where the Daesh [Isis] extremists planned these attacks.”
French media reported that Abdeslam had attempted to flee a building on foot and was shot below his knee following which he was taken to hospital for treatment.
Investigators will now have to determine Abdeslam’s role in the coordinated attakcs 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. (ANI)