The main suspect in last November’s deadly Paris terrorist attacks, which killed 130 people, has been apprehended after a shootout in Brussels. Twenty-six-year-old French national Salah Abdeslam was shot in the leg and detained by Belgian police during a confrontation outside an apartment. Authorities believe he has been hiding in Belgium since shortly after the attacks.
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A raid, a shoot-out, and five people in custody, including the main suspect in the Paris attacks, that chain of events played out late today in Brussels, Belgium. And when it was over, police proclaimed success after a four-month manhunt.
The crack of gunfire in the city's Molenbeek neighborhood ended in the arrest that police had long sought; 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam was captured alive, but wounded in the leg during the shoot-out with police.
Belgium's prime minister made the formal announcement.
CHARLES MICHEL, Prime Minister, Belgium (through interpreter):
I can tell you that we have arrested Abdeslam as part of an operation linked to an investigation on the attacks in Paris. And I want to warmly thank our security forces.
Meanwhile, helmeted police with riot shields cordoned off the area. And, as darkness fell, at least one explosion lit up the site.
French investigators say Abdeslam was one of several attackers who carried out the Paris rampage last November, targeting a rock concert, cafes, and a stadium; 130 people died that night, and hundreds more were wounded. It is believed that Abdeslam fled Paris, slipped through a dragnet and escaped back to Brussels, where the attacks had been planned.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the massacre. Most of the other suspects, including one of Abdeslam's brothers, died that night or were killed later by police. Today's raid gained momentum after Belgian authorities raided this apartment in another Brussels neighborhood on Tuesday and found Abdeslam's fingerprints.
A man believed to be one of his accomplices was killed there. Two others fled the scene, one of whom now appears to have been Abdeslam himself.
French President Francois Hollande said this evening that the investigation of the Paris attacks is not over. He said there will be more arrests. We will get the White House perspective on all of this right after the news summary.