Salah Abdeslam, who had become the world’s most wanted man, was shot in the leg and captured in a dramatic police raid in Brussels.
French Minister for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, announced, “We got him” as video showed Abdeslam being dragged away by police.
The terrorist suspect was holed up in an apartment in the district of Molenbeek in Brussels with two other men. One of the men was said to be killed in the raid and the second was wounded.
Approximately 4:30pm, gun shots and explosions and white smoke were witnessed and documented on local television cameras in the area as the police closed on the apartment for Abdeslam, who had been on the run for 126 days.
According to initial reports from the scene, Abdeslam’s fingerprints were identified at a raid on a nearby location earlier in the week on Tuesday in which he suffered a flesh wound. He then retreated to the Molenbeek neighborhood where he had grown up. He was taken to the hospital for treatment after his arrest.
Police had traced him back to the Molenbeek neighborhood and special forces had monitored the house for the past 48 hours.
More than two hours after Abdeslam had been arrested, gunfire and explosions were still heard in the neighborhood as police continued their search for a third accomplice.
EU leaders were gathered at a meeting in Brussels less than five miles from the neighborhood where Abdeslam was apprehended. Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, was seen hurrying out of the summit when news of the raid broke.
Since the attacks in Paris in November, 11 people have been arrested and charged in Belgium in connection with the attacks. Eight remain in custody.
Abdeslam was a 26-year-old Belgian-born Morocco-Frenchman who grew up in Molenbeek. He had worked in the family business as a railway mechanic and at a bar set up by his brother, Brahim. Abdeslam was childhood friends with the main mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Both men had served time in jail for armed robbery. It is at that time that they were believed to become radicalized.
Abdeslam is believed to have been the logistics manager who organized hotels and flats and ammunition and who rented the cars used in the Paris attacks. He was identified on CCTV footage outside a café that was targeted in the attacks.