Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam, 4 others arrested

Updated

Fugitive Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam was captured in a terror raid in Belgium Friday, along with two other suspects, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said Friday.

MSNBC Live, 3/18/16, 2:40 PM ET

Video shows Belgian suspect being apprehended

Video from Belgian TV network VTM shows a suspect being apprehended during a terror raid outside of Brussels, Belgium. It is unconfirmed whether this suspect is Salah Abdeslam, the main person wanted for involvement in terrorist attacks that killed 130…

Abdeslam, 26, was nabbed in the Brussels suburb of Molenbook after “intense and detailed work” by security forces, Michel said in a press conference. Five people in all were detained during Friday’s raids, Belgium’s prosecutor said.

Abdeslam had been on the run for more than four months and was believed to be the final terror suspect at large. Another man and three members of a family that allegedly hid Abdeslam were also arrested, the Belgium federal prosecutor’s office said.

French President Francois Hollande said Friday Abdeslam was “directly tied to the organization and perpetration of the attacks in Paris” that killed 130 people. Hollande said two “two co-conspirators” were among those arrested in the Belgium raid, and said other arrests are possible.

Hollande said he expected Abdeslam would be extradited to France as quickly as possible. “We need to advance finding the truth and to ensure justice for the people who want to live in freedom,” Hollande said.

MSNBC Live, 3/18/16, 2:13 PM ET

Two explosions heard near scene of Belgian terror raid

NBC’s Richard Engel reports that two explosions were heard at the scene of the terror raid in Belgium where Salah Abdeslam was captured. He also addresses reports that the S.W.A.T. teams are also looking for two other suspects.
The coordinated ISIS attacks in Paris killed 130 people who were out enjoying a Friday night on Nov. 13, 2015, targeting cafes, a rock concert, and a stadium. One of Abdeslam’s brothers blew himself up in the terror attack, while another has repeatedly urged Abdeslam to turn himself in.

Belgium police conducted raids of three houses at 4:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. ET), Belgian Prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said at a news conference, and federal police arrested Abdeslam at one of those houses.

Abdeslam suffered an injury to his leg during the arrest, Van der Sypt said. The four other people arrested were taken into custody at that residence and they will be questioned, Van der Sypt said.

French Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve said the terror threat in France remains high. “The fight against terrorism must continue unabated. Thoughts for the November 13th victims,” he said in a Tweet.

Abdeslam, suspected of being the eighth person ISIS said took part in the Paris attacks, is believed to have crossed into Belgium following the bloody spree. The terrorists who died in the siege were French and Belgian.

President Barack Obama called Belgium Prime Minister and Hollande to congratulate them on the arrests, the White House said.

MSNBC Live, 3/18/16, 1:52 PM ET

Belgian city has long history of terror raids since Paris attacks

NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin reports on the history and happenings of the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek since the November terror attacks in Paris. The Belgian city has a history of links to extremists, and in the days after the Paris attacks, security forces…

The brother who urged Abdeslam turn himself, Mohamed, has told Belgian broadcaster RTBF that he had noticed a “slight change” in Abdeslam’s behavior — when they started praying more and gave up drinking — but said that they did not appear to have been “radicalized.”

Frank J. Cilluffo, a former U.S. counter terrorism official who directs the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University, told NBC News Abdeslam’s capture alive could provide “valuable insights to prevent and pre-empt future incidents.”

Authorities will want to find out how he has evaded them in Belgium for so long, he said. They will also want to answer a key question about the Paris terror plots: “Was it hatched a long time ago in Syria and Iraq,” or was it more of a decentralized, ad hoc operation planned in Europe?

Earlier this week, a separate raid targeting suspects in the attacks resulted in the death of Mohamed Belkaid, 35. That name, and other personal details, match those of an ISIS fighter who wanted to be suicide attacker, according to a cache of documents obtained by NBC News.

Belkaid is suspected of helping the Paris attackers. Belgian prosecutors said earlier Friday they had found Abdelsam’s fingerprints at the scene of that raid, in Brussels.

Moleenbeek, a poor Brussels suburb, has a history of links to extremists. In the days after the Paris attacks, security forces detained several people there in aseries of raids.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., the lead Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, congratulated France and Belgium for Abdeslam’s arrest.

“Abdeslam’s arrest sends the message to terrorists around the world that they cannot hide and that it’s only a matter of time before they answer for their heinous crimes,” she said in a statement. 

F. Brinley Bruton and Ken Dilanian also contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

Paris attacks

Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam, 4 others arrested

Updated