Paris Suspect Probably Fled Brussels Raid This Week: Belgian Media

Belgian special forces police have conducted raids to search for suspects linked to Paris attacks, in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek. The attacks are said to have been coordinated through a terrorist cell in Brussels. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS, March 18 – Salah Abdeslam, a prime suspect in November’s Islamist attacks in Paris, probably evaded a police raid in Brussels on Tuesday, Belgian public broadcaster RTBF said on Friday after investigators found his fingerprints at the scene.

“According to our information, it is more than likely that he is one of the two individuals who escaped during the shootout,” RTBF said on its website, referring to Tuesday’s raid in which one Islamist gunman was shot dead by a police sniper.

The public prosecutor’s office, which is investigating the extensive involvement of Belgians and Brussels-based French nationals in the Nov. 13 Daesh attacks on the French capital, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Belgium’s Belga news agency quoted the prosecutor’s office as saying they had found fingerprints of Abdeslam in the apartment police raided in the suburban Brussels borough of Forest on Tuesday while other media said DNA was also found.

Other media were more cautious on the implications of the find, saying it demonstrated that the 26-year-old Brussels-born Frenchman may have visited the apartment at some stage.

Abdeslam’s elder brother was among the suicide bombers who killed themselves in Paris during a shooting rampage in which 130 people died. The younger Abdeslam was driven back to Brussels from Paris hours later. Belgian authorities are holding 10 people suspected of involvement with him, but there has been no report of the fugitive himself being sighted.

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