Friday, March 18, 2016

Suspect in Paris 11/13 attacks captured in Brussels today; had apparently visited gay areas before attack

Fugitive Salah Abdeslam has been captured alive but wounded in an apartment in the Molenbeek section of Brussels today.  His whereabouts had been determined from a DNA match.

He had been wanted in connection with the Paris attacks on Nov. 13. 2013 and was one of the most wanted men in Europe.  The attempt to find him had resulted in shutting down the entire city of Brussels the weekend after the attack.

CNN’s detailed story is here.

However, Michael Weiss, discussing the capture on CNN, noted reports that Abdeslam had been seen visiting a gay area of Brussels, including some clubs, in the days and weeks before 11/13.  There had been some reports to this effect in European media, like in the Mirror, shortly after the attacks.  Authorities think he might have been trying to commit pickpocket crimes and get false id cards, but he could have been scouting targets for attack.  I had not heard this aspect of the story back in November.  No other members of the community are reported as “knowing” him in the media yet. 

The situation in Brussels is still active with other raids in progress.

Abdeslam had been stopped once by authorities after the attack, and authorities did not realize he was a suspect.

The Washington Post reports that the suspect is in court in Belgium now, awaiting extradition to France, where he could face life in prison.
Street picture (Ninove St) by Aktron, Wikipedia attribution link  under CCSA 3.0.  I have been in Brussels only once, in May 2001.  

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