The top suspect linked to the November 13 terror attacks in France has been arrested in Belgium, a Belgian minister said
Salah Abdeslam was arrested by Belgian police during a raid Friday in the Molenbeek area of Brussels. Authorities said Abdeslam has a leg injury and has been transferred to a hospital.
Belgian immigration minister Theo Francken confirmed the arrest in a tweet that said, "We got him."
Footage aired on Belgian TV showed police dragging a man in white into a police car. A government spokesman said another man, identified as Monir Ahmed Alaaj, with the alias Amine Choukri, was also injured during the shootout and hospitalized.
Belgian authorities found the fugitive's fingerprints in an apartment raided earlier this week in another Brussels neighborhood.
A spokesman for the Belgian prosecutors office said police in Germany had questioned Abdeslam and Choukri in October. They took Choukri’s fingerprints, which later were found in a Belgian safe house used by the terrorists. Police later found a fake Syrian passport and fake Belgian identity card bearing the man’s two different names.
Three other people were arrested during Friday’s raid; prosecutors identified them as members of a family that had hidden Abdeslam.
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The arrests ended a four-month manhunt.
Abdeslam had been the chief target in an intense hunt for suspects and associates of the militants who carried out the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. His older brother, Brahim, was among the suicide bombers who killed themselves during the rampage.
It was unclear whether French-Moroccan Abdelslam had remained in Brussels since November.
Since mid-November, 11 people have been arrested and charged in Belgium in connection with the killings. Eight are still in detention. The attacks were prepared and coordinated, in part, in Brussels.
French and Belgian leaders praised the cooperation between the two countries leading to the arrests, but warned that the terrorist threat remained. French President Francois Hollande said his country would issue an extradition request for Abdeslam.
Hollande said the investigation revealed that many more people were involved in the attacks than authorities originally believed, in a network that spanned several countries.
This combination of photos shows Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected mastermind of the November 13, 2015, Paris attacks, on the left, and suspect Salah Abdeslam, who remains at large. (2nd R),
Paris Assailants, Suspects Where Are They Now?
Name: Salah Abdeslam
Background: French national born in Belgium
Investigation: Considered eighth attacker; believed to be driver of car outside the Bataclan
Name: Abdelhamid Abaaoud
Background: Belgian of Moroccan origin
Investigation: Ringleader of Paris attacks
Name: Ibrahim Abdeslam
Background: French citizen
Investigation: Suicide bomber at cafe on Boulevard Voltaire; brother of Salah Abdeslam
Name: Samy Amimour
Background: Born in Paris
Investigation: One of three suicide bombers at Bataclan concert hall
Name: Bilal Hadfi
Background: Nationality unknown, living in Belgium prior to attacks
Investigation: One of three suicide bombers at soccer stadium
Name: Ismael Omar Mostefai
Background: Chartres, France
Investigation: Suicide bomber at Bataclan concert hall
Name: Ahmad al Muhammad (falsified name)
Background: Unknown; emergency passport said he was from Syria
Investigation: Suicide bomber at soccer stadium; emergency passport found on his body
Investigation: Suicide bomber at soccer stadium; carried falsified Turkish passport
Investigation: Suicide bomber at Bataclan concert hall; has not yet been identified