Paris attack main suspect arrested

Brussels: Salah Abdeslam, a Belgian-born French national wanted in connection with last week's deadly Paris attacks that claimed 129 lives, was on Monday reportedly arrested in Brussels.

The 26-year-old was captured alive in an operation by Belgian special forces in Molenbeek, an impoverished suburb of Brussels with a history of links to terror plots, Sky News reported citing Belgian broadcaster RTL.

Abdeslan Salah
This handout picture released in a "appel a temoins" (call for witnesses) by the French Police information service (SICOP) shows a picture of Abdeslan Salah, suspected of being involved in the attacks that occured on November 13, 2015 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / POLICE NATIONALE 

Reports suggested that he was seen at a window of a building with his arms up in the air, before police used tear gas to neutralise him.

However, Belgian public broadcaster RTBF said he was not arrested.

Raids have been taking place in Molenbeek since the early hours of Monday. At least two roads were cordoned off by the police in an active standoff, CNN reported.

French police said Salah Abdeslam was one of the eight attackers, seven of whom were killed. 

Born in Belgium, Abdeslam was dubbed dangerous by the French police. Belgium had issued an international warrant for his arrest after the Paris attacks.

Raids have been taking place in Molenbeek since the early hours of Monday. At least two roads were cordoned off by the police in an active standoff, CNN reported.

Speaking of the deadly attacks in Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Monday that these were planned and organised from Syria. 

"The attack was organised, conceived, and planned from Syria," CNN quoted Valls as saying in a radio interview.

The prime minister said more than 150 raids were conducted on militant targets in different areas of France earlier in the day.

"We are making use of the legal framework of the state of emergency to question people who are part of the radical jihadi movement... and all those who advocate hate of the republic," he said.

"We know that operations were being prepared and are still being prepared, not only against France but other European countries too," said Valls.

At least nine people have been arrested so far. Five of the detainees were identified over the weekend. On Monday, two more were named by the Paris prosecutor as Ahmad al-Mohammad and Samy Amimour, a BBC report said.

Al-Mohammad name was written on a Syrian passport found on the remains of one of the attackers, though the man's identity has not yet been verified. The other attackers so far named are all from Europe.

Amimour was said to be facing terrorism charges in France.

Police sources said properties in the Paris suburb of Bobigny, as well as the cities of Grenoble, Toulouse and Lyon, had been targeted.

Monday's early morning raids took place in Calais, Toulouse, Paris, Jeumont and Grenoble where police blocked streets and searched houses looking for suspects involved in the attacks, which killed at least 129 people and wounded 350 others, Al Jazeera reported.

Al Jazeera's David Chater, reporting from Paris, said about 200 members of police tactical units surrounded an address in Toulouse. Ammunition and a large amount of cash were found at one of the locations.

He said 20 police vans were used in the raid in Jeumont on the French-Belgian border where a house was searched.

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