TOP PARIS ATTACKS suspect Salah Abdeslam, Europe’s most wanted man, was wounded and captured in a dramatic raid by armed police in Brussels.
Abdeslam, 26, and four other suspects were arrested in the gritty Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, where the Franco-Moroccan allegedly helped plan the 13 November attacks in which 130 people died and 350 were injured.
Abdeslam was lightly wounded in the leg with French President Francois Hollande saying the country would swiftly seek his extradition.
A video which supposedly shows the moment of his arrest shows the 26-year-old jihadists struggling with police before he’s put into a car.
Prosecutors said special forces raided a house in Molenbeek because of evidence found in an operation in Brussels on Tuesday, in which a Paris-linked suspect died in a gunbattle with police and two other people escaped.
One of Abdeslam’s fingerprints was found at the scene of Tuesday’s raid, sparking the huge manhunt that led to his capture.
Also arrested was a man known under the fake name of Amine Choukri who also used a false Syrian name, Monir Ahmed Alaaj.
Abdeslam had been on the run since the November 13 attacks.
Former small-time criminal Abdeslam is believed to be the last surviving member of the 10-man jihadist team that carried out attacks on the Bataclan rock venue, restaurants, bars and the Stade de France stadium.
He apparently fled by car to his hometown Brussels the day after the rampage, having refused to blow himself up, and is believed to have spent much if not all of the subsequent four months in the city.
Investigators believe Abdeslam hired one of the cars used in the attacks and then used it to drive suicide bombers to the Stade de France with the task then of blowing himself up.
But he apparently backed out, and an explosives-filled suicide vest was later found in Paris in a region that mobile phone signals indicated he had been in.
Police believe he fled across the border the next morning. Several people have been arrested on suspicion of helping him
US President Barack Obama has called French and Belgian leaders to congratulate them on the arrest.
Hollande, whose embattled presidency will be defined by his response to the worst terror attacks on French soil, said Paris would request Abdeslam’s extradition from Belgium “as rapidly as possible.”
“Our fight is not over, and tomorrow morning, in the light of the information that has been given to me, I will chair a meeting of the defence council,” bringing together ministers and senior officials in charge of security, Hollande said.
© – AFP 2016 with reporting by Rónán Duffy