Most Wanted Terrorist in the World Has Been Captured
Paris terror attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam has been wounded and detained in Molenbeek, Brussels, Johan De Becker, police superintendent of Molenbeek, confirmed to ABC News.
A large police operation was previously reported in Molenbeek, a neighborhood where many of those involved in the Paris attacks in November came from. Two other suspects have been arrested in addition to 26-year-old Abdeslam, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said in a press conference.
Abdeslam, who was one the most wanted men in Europe, was in an apartment on “rue des Quatre-Vents,” only a few yards away from his family home in Molenbeek, when he was arrested, De Becker told ABC News. He is thought to be one of the masterminds of the Paris terror attacks that killed 130.
A photo was released of Belgian authorities escorting a suspect dressed in a white hoodie out of the Molenbeek apartment that was raided.
French President François Hollande said in a press conference that his thoughts are with the families who were affected by the attacks.
“Thank you to all security forces and those who have been working on this investigation,” Hollande said, adding that investigators will ask to extradite Abdeslam to France.
Dick Clarke, an ABC News consultant and a former counter-terrorism adviser to the White House, said it was “amazing” that Abdeslam was still in Belgium.
“[It] either means he couldn’t get out or that he was hanging around trying to do more,” Clarke said. “It also means there is an infrastructure in Belgium he could rely on to support him.”
President Obama has been briefed on the Brussels operation that led to the capture of Abdeslam, according to a White House official. Obama called Michel to congratulate Belgium and France in their fight against terrorism, Michel said.