BRUSSELS (CBSNewYork/AP) — Salah Abdeslam, the main fugitive from Islamic extremist attacks in Paris in November, was captured in Belgium’s capital Friday after four months at large, officials said.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the raid in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium, ended the search for Abdeslam, who authorities called the only one of the 10 terrorists to escape alive. Abdeslam grew up in the same neighborhood.
Abdeslam was shot in the leg during the raid, Molenbeek’s Deputy Mayor Ahmed El Khannouss told the Associated Press.
Two explosions near the site of the raid were heard. Police in helmets and riot shields have cordoned off the area.
At least four others were arrested during the raid, including members of a family that helped hide Abdeslam, officials said.
More arrests were expected, said French President François Hollande.
As CBS News’ Jonathan Vigliotti reported, cameras captured images of cops dragging a man in a white hooded sweatshirt into a police car.
Authorities said Abdeslam was among several attackers who targeted cafes, a rock concert and a stadium in Paris’ deadliest attacks in decades, which killed 130 people.
He rented the black Volkswagen in Belgium that was abandoned near the concert hall where most of the victims were killed.
French and Belgian authorities had issued a warrant for Abdeslam, whose brother Brahim Abdeslam was among the attackers killed.
Abdeslam’s brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, appealed to him in November to surrender.
“That’s the best solution,” he said, “to contact the authorities.”
Friday’s capture of Abdeslam comes after Belgian authorities say they found his fingerprints in an apartment raided earlier this week in another Brussels neighborhood.
In that raid, a man believed to have been an accomplice of Abdeslam — Mohamed Belkaid — was shot dead, Belgian prosecutors say. But two men escaped from the apartment, one of whom appears to have been Abdeslam.
Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said it was possible Abdeslam had spent “days, weeks or months,” in the apartment.
Abdeslam fled Paris after the Nov. 13 attacks. Most of the Paris attackers died that night, including Abdeslam’s brother Brahim, who blew himself up. Brahim Abdeslam was buried in the area Thursday.
“The fact that he’s been on the run for some time, authorities are going to want to know about his support network, if there are any other operatives in play,” explained Juan Zarate, CBS News Senior National Security Analyst.
Abdeslam, a childhood friend of suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, is believed to have driven a group of gunmen who took part.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, in which Belgian nationals played key roles.
On Tuesday, a joint team of Belgian and French police showed up to search a residence in the Forest area of Brussels in connection with the Paris investigation, and were unexpectedly fired upon by at least two people inside. Four officers were slightly wounded.
An occupant of the residence was shot dead by a police sniper as he prepared to open fire on police from a window. Police identified him as Belkaid, 35, an Algerian national living illegally in Belgium.
A Kalashnikov assault rifle was found by his body, as well as a book on Salafism, an ultraconservative strain of Islam. Elsewhere in the apartment, police found an Islamic State banner as well as 11 Kalashnikov loaders and a large quantity of ammunition, the prosecutor said.
Belgian authorities initially said Belkaid had no known background in radical Islamic activities. But Friday afternoon, prosecutors issued a statement saying he was “most probably” an accomplice of Abdeslam who had been using a fake Belgian ID card in the name of Samir Bouzid.
A man using that ID card was one of the two men seen with Abdeslam in a rental car on the Hungarian-Austrian border in September.
Four days after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, the same false ID card was used to transfer 750 euros ($847) to Hasna Ait Boulahcen, Abaaoud’s niece. Both Ait Boulahcen and Abaaoud died afterward in a police siege.
Abdeslam slipped through a police dragnet to return to Brussels after the bloodbath in Paris, and though the target of an international manhunt, has not been found since.
In January, Belgian authorities said one of his fingerprints was found alongside homemade suicide bomb belts at an apartment in another area of Brussels. Belgian prosecutors said it wasn’t known whether he had been at the address in the Schaerbeek district before or after the Paris attacks, or how long he had been there.
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