Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam captured, source says

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A picture taken on December 3, 2015 at the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Roissy-en-France, outside Paris shows the wanted notice of terrorist Salah Abdeslam (L) and Mohamed Abrini. (Photo credit KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (March 18, 2016) — Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam was captured alive Friday, a Belgian counter-terrorism source said.

Belgium’s state broadcaster reported that the 26-year-old Abdeslam was injured in a shootout that ended with his capture. The Belgian counter-terrorism source said two people were wounded.

His capture comes after a raid conducted by police Friday in Brussels. The raid ended with two suspects in custody — one of whom is Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam, a senior counter-terrorism official said.

Earlier in the day, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office revealed the 26-year-old’s fingerprints and DNA were found in a Brussels apartment raided two days earlier. One person was killed and two people escaped that operation, according to authorities.

The man killed by a special forces sniper was Mohamed Belkaid, an Algerian who used the name Samir Bouzid, is believed to have directed the November 13 Paris attackers via calls from Belgium, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Belkaid is believed to have helped Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam travel prior to the attacks and transferred money to a female cousin of Paris ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud following the attack, the Belgian senior counter-terrorism official told CNN in January.

Authorities believe the 26-year-old Abdeslam was using the apartment as a hideout following the November 13 Paris attacks that left at least 130 people dead, according to the Belgian counter-terrorism official.

Up until Friday evening, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office has only said that “the investigation continues day and night.

“It is currently not possible to give any additional information to avoid causing any damage to the investigation,” the agency said.

Belgian authorities are “not happy” that French media leaked evidence showing Abdeslam was in the Brussels apartment raided this week, Belgium Federal Prosecutor Eric Van Der Sijpt said Friday.

Investigators think Abdeslam may have been the driver of a black Renault Clio that dropped off three suicide bombers near the Stade de France, one of the attack sites. They also believe he had worn a suicide belt found on a Paris street after the attacks.

He is believed to have called friends to take him to Belgium after the attacks. They passed through police checkpoints, but Abdeslam had not yet been identified as a suspect and they were allowed to continue on their way.

Surveillance video emerged of him and another man at a gas station near the Belgian border the day after the attacks.

He has eluded authorities ever since.

In January, authorities found traces of explosives and Abdeslam’s fingerprints in another Brussels apartment.

Some theories have suggested he had returned to Syria following the attacks.

Abdeslam, a Belgian-born French citizen, is the brother of another attacker, Ibrahim Abdeslam. He was a French citizen believed to have been the suicide bomber who detonated explosives outside a cafe on Boulevard Voltaire.

 

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