|2016 Brussels police raids|
|Part of the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris attacks|
|Target||Forest and Molenbeek, Belgium|
|Date||15/18 March 2016|
|Outcome||Salah Abdeslam and 4 other suspects arrested|
On 15 and 18 March 2016, Belgian police carried out raids on houses in Brussels. The raids were conducted in connection to theNovember 2015 Paris attacks. In the raids, one suspect was killed and five others were arrested, including Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of direct involvement in the Paris attacks.
Police carried out a raid on a house in Forest, a suburb of Brussels. A police statement said that the raid was related to the November 2015 Paris attacks. The house was situated in the Rue du Dries, near the Audi factory in Forest. Four police officers, one of them French, were wounded in the raid. One suspect was killed, and a manhunt went underway for two other suspects.
The suspect killed was identified by Belgian police as Mohamed Belkaid, a 35-year-old Algerian citizen. Belkaid immigrated to and lived for several years in Sweden, where he married a Swedish woman. In 2014, he traveled to Syria to commit jihad. Belkaid is believed to have been an associate of Salah Abdeslam, a suspected accomplice in the Paris attacks. He was killed after being shot by a police sniper.
On 18 March, Belgian prosecutors stated that Abdeslam’s fingerprints had been found in the Forest flat. Later that day, there were reports of further raids, and the sound of gunfire, in theMolenbeek area of Brussels. Two suspects, identified as Abdeslam and Monir Ahmed Alaaj, were reportedly injured in one such raid. Five people, including Abdeslam, were arrested during the raid.
Another suspect, identified as 24-year-old Belgian citizen Najim Laachraoui, remained on the run. Suspicion was apparently aroused to Abdeslam’s location after a person in the flat made an unusually large pizza order. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the woman who made the food order with two other adults, children, and Abdeslam.
In the wake of the 18 March raid, French President François Hollande called Abdeslam’s arrest “an important moment”. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls also welcome Abdeslam’s arrest and added that more work needed to be done in tracking down terrorist cells in Europe.
- 2015 Saint-Denis raid
- 2016 Brussels bombings
- Brussels lockdown
- January 2015 anti-terrorism operations in Belgium
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