Salah Abdeslam, a terror suspect wanted in connection with the November 2015 Paris attacks, was shot and arrested during a police raid in Brussels on Friday afternoon, the country’s justice minister confirmed.
“We’ve got him,” Belgian Minister Théo Francken wrote on Twitter. The tweet was later removed; however, Abdeslam’s capture has also been confirmed by two Belgian broadcasters, VRT and RTBF, according to the New York Times.
The operation leading to Abdeslam’s capture took place in the Molenbeek area of Brussels where several exchanges of gunfire and explosions were reported. Authorities say Abdeslam’s fingerprints were detected in the Forest area of Brussels on Tuesday, where two suspects fled an apartment during a shootout with Belgian police.
Mohamed Belkaid, a 35-year-old Algerian living illegally in Belgium, was “neutralized” by a police sniper Tuesday after reportedly attacking officers approaching the flat with an assault rifle. A Belgian prosecutor said on Friday that Belkaid had “most probably” helped the Paris attackers, the Times reports. The Algerian man had allegedly assumed the identity of “Samir Bouzid,” using fake Belgian papers.
A 26-year-old French national, Abdeslam has been called “Europe’s most-wanted fugitive” for his alleged role in the Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead. French authorities believe Abdeslam, the tenth Paris-shooting suspect so far, played a key role in orchestrating the assault, and may have driven the armed gunman who murdered 89 people at the Bataclan theater after taking hostages on Nov. 13.
Another 368 people were wounded, roughly 100 of them critically, in one of the most devastating terrorist attack to strike Paris in over a hundred years. Seven terrorist were also killed during the massacre.
The Islamic State, religious fanatics who have seized large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, have claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris.
Illustration via Max Fleishman