France and Belgium celebrate capture of Paris attack suspect

Published March 19th, 2016 - 02:22 GMT
A Belgian police officer stands next to police car outside the Belgian Federal Police headquarters in Brussels on March 19, 2016. (AFP/Aurore Belot)
A Belgian police officer stands next to police car outside the Belgian Federal Police headquarters in Brussels on March 19, 2016. (AFP/Aurore Belot)

France’s Defence Council has met following the arrest in Belgium of the main surviving suspect in the Paris attacks and a number of other people in the Molenbeek district of Brussels.

The French are delighted that the Belgian authorities have got their man, and have been full of praise for the operation that snared him.

“Salah Abdeslam is currently in detention along with four other individuals, and will now have to answer for his actions in a French court. This is an important blow struck against ISIL’s European terrorist organisation. We will win the war against the terrorists by acting without respite or pause,” said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Police reportedly got a tipoff from a local resident, and the authorities are warning his arrest may trigger escapes by other members of his cell, so border controls are being tightened.

“The fight is not over. The fight for security, the fight against all forms of radicalism, the fight against terrorism, this fight has to continue and more than ever we will increase our capacities and redouble our efforts,” said Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel.

Despite the arrests Belgium will remain at its second-highest level of alert, level three, for the foreseeable future. Few people are suggesting that anti-terrorist operations have been concluded by Abdeslam’s capture.

By Robert Hackwill


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