|Tweets about Brussels|
Salah Abdeslam, described in media reports as one of the "world's most wanted men" for his alleged role in coordinating and carrying out the violent attacks in Paris last year that left 130 people dead, has reportedly been "wounded" and captured following a shootout with law enforcement agents in Brussels on Friday. A second individual may also be in police custody, though details remain difficult to confirm at this early hour.
According to local Belgian outlet DH, Abdeslam was captured alive during a police operation that remains ongoing. Reporters have not been able to confirm his exact physical condition, though outlets reported Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, confirming his capture by declaring, "We got him."
French President Francoise Hollande confirmed that a high-level operation was underway.
The UK Independent reports:
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel left a European Union summit on the refugee crisis early as the raid unfolded.
Earlier today, Belgian federal prosecutors confirmed they found Abdeslam's fingerprints in a Brussels raid on Tuesday.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
If you think a better world is possible, support our people-powered media model today
The corporate media puts the interests of the 1% ahead of all of us. That's wrong. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.
If you believe the survival of independent media is vital to a healthy democracy, please step forward with a donation to nonprofit Common Dreams today:
Abdeslam may have been one of the men who fled the raid on Tuesday, [Belgium's public broadcaster] reported, but officials would not confirm whether he was present.
Abdeslam went on the run after appearing to have removed his suicide vest and fled the Paris attacks on 13 November which left 130 dead.
The Guardian adds:
Earlier, the Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt confirmed that Abdeslam’s fingerprints had been found at a flat that was raided in the Forest area of Brussels on Tuesday, where a shoot-out with police saw another gunman shot dead next to an Islamic State flag. Two suspects fled that raid.
Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French national who grew up in Brussels, fled Paris for Belgium by car hours after the 13 November attacks which killed 130 people. He is believed to have played a key role in organising the attacks.
Police believe he played a key role in the logistics of the Paris attacks and escorted the three suicide bombers who blew themselves up at the Stade de France as part of the coordinated attacks.
Investigators are also considering whether he planned to carry out his own suicide attack in the 18th arrondissement of the French capital, and perhaps backed out. His brother blew himself up and died at a Paris bar on Boulevard Voltaire during the attacks.