It took four months and thousands of law enforcement man-hours, but Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam was finally apprehended on March 19. He was taken into custody in the Brussels’ suburb of Molenbeek as part of an anti-terror raid on an apartment building in a residential area.
The arrest took place after a brief gun battle that left Abdeslam and another individual, Monir Ahmed Alaaj, also known as Amine Choukri, with minor injuries. There were four other arrests made during the raid with at least three of the other persons being suspected of providing aid to Abdeslam and other Islamic terrorists after the Paris attacks.
Soon after news of the arrest broke, French President Francois Hollande told reporters that federal French prosecutors would immediately file a request with the Belgian government for Abdeslam’s extradition to face terrorist charges in Paris.
According to Hollande, “I know the Belgian authorities will respond quickly and favorably to our request for extradition,” For now, Abdeslam is being held in Belgium on charges of “participation in terrorist murder”. According to his attorney, Abdeslam intends to vigorously contest extradition.
Abdeslam, a Belgian-born French citizen, was identified as the man who showed up at a sports stadium in Paris wearing a protective vest filled with explosives on the day of several other attacks in the Paris area. He was prevented from entering the stadium by a security guard who became a bit of a hero because of the number of lives he might have saved by his actions.
On the day after his arrest, Abdeslam allegedly admitted to Belgium investigators that he indeed planned to act as a suicide bomber and detonate the bombs once inside the stadium. He later claimed it was a change of heart that led him to walk away from the scene.