Mastermind Behind Paris Attacks Arrested In Brussels

REUTERS/Police Nationale/Handout via Reuters

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Belgian police captured Salah Abdeslam, “Europe’s most wanted man” for his involvement in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, during a raid in Brussels Friday.

Abdeslam was apprehended and taken to the hospital after getting shot in the leg during a police raid Friday afternoon in the neighborhood of Molenbeek, Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reports. He escaped a shootout with police in Brussels Wednesday when another suspect was killed. (RELATED: An Inside Look At The European Jihadi Capital That Keeps Brussels On High Alert)

Abdeslam is believed to have been one of the masterminds behind the attacks along with his childhood friend Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in a raid in Paris days after the attack. Police believe Abdeslam was supposed to carry out a suicide bombing in Paris but got cold feet and drove back to Brussels instead.

He has since been considered Europe’s most wanted man with thousands of officers taking part in the manhunt. Abdeslam still managed to stay hidden in his hometown for four months.

Police have come close to capturing Abdeslam on a number of occasions. During his drive from Paris to Brussels on the night of the attack he passed a security checkpoint just minutes before an arrest warrant was added to the database. A December raid against an apartment where he was believed to stay had to be called off due to a law which prohibits police raids after 9 p.m.

Authorities later thought Abdeslam had rejoined Islamic State in Syria.

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