Paris Terror Suspect Salah Abdeslam Captured: Source

Mar 18, 2016 2:21 PM by NBC News

Fugitive Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam was captured in a terror raid in Belgium on Friday, a Belgian police source told NBC News.

Belgian news outlets reported two people had been injured and arrested in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek— including Abdeslam, 26, who has been on the run for more than four months.

A Belgian police source who requested anonymity confirmed the arrest to NBC News, but would not say whether Abdeslam was injured.

The coordinated ISIS attacks in Paris killed 130 people who were out enjoying a Friday night on Nov. 13, 2015. One of Abdeslam's brothers blew himself up in that terror spree, while another has repeatedly urged him to turn himself in.

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

The third brother, Mohamed, has told Belgian broadcaster RTBF that he had noticed a "slight change" in his brothers' 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 a series of raids.


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