Two Explosions Heard: Raids And ‘Siege’ In Brussels District Linked To Paris Attack

A series of raids by heavily armed police and a “siege” are ongoing in the district of Molenbeek in Brussels, Belgium. Two explosions have been heard and bomb squads are on the ground.

“A large number of police launched a raid on a building in Rue Delaunoy,” state broadcaster RTBF said on its website. The eighth suspect who fled from Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was arrested in the Molenbeek district by police this morning.

The rundown district of Brussels, which has a substantial Muslim population of mostly Moroccan and Turkish immigrants, has been linked to every Islamist attack in Europe over the past year. It is thought to have been the home of most of the gunmen responsible for Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris.

The news comes as a Belgian national and well known ISIS jihadist, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was named the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks. He is also thought to be the man behind the thwarted train attack in August, where off duty U.S. marines apprehended a jihadist gunman.

The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, last night admitted that “laxity” had allowed terrorism to proliferate in district:

“There is a huge problem. The past months, many initiatives have already been taken in the fight against radicalisation but we also need more repression,” he said.

Adding: “There is often a connection between terrorist attacks and Molenbeek. It was a form of laxity, to allow this. We are paying the bill for past laxity,” the Times report.

“This [attack] comes unfortunately not as a surprise,” said Zoufri Mustapha, who manages a local youth centre just around the corner from Rue Delaunoy, the scene of today’s police raid. “We’ve seen radicalism here for some years now, and particularly the young get targeted”, he told Politico.

Reports from Belgian media, quoting the mayor of Molenbeek, that the police operation there has ended.


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