Belgian prosecutors have announced shots were today fired at police in Belgium’s capital city, Brussels, as they carried out a major counter-terror operation linked to November’s Islamist Paris attacks.
Federal prosecutor spokesman, Eric Van Der Sypt, announced police were fired at, but other than confirming that the search in the southern Forest district was “linked to the Paris attacks investigation” was unable to give further details for the time being.
The Forest district is close to the troubled Molenbeek district of Brussels which was visited by Breitbart London last year. Police operations seeking out Brussels-based Islamists associated with the Paris attacks have focused on the area.
Since November 11 arrests linked to the Paris attacks have taken place in Belgium. Of those arrested eight are still detained but two major suspects, Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Abrini, both from Molenbeek, remain on the run. French police sources say Abdeslam was not the target of today’s raid.
A police spokeswoman originally said one police officer had been injured slightly in today’s raid, which included French police officers, but that number has now risen to four. Three were wounded by gunfire during the initial raid, one during the police mobilisation which followed.
Earlier it was thought two suspects were on the run after the incident and a Kalashnikov was used in the shooting, as the Derniere Heure newspaper reported. It has since been reported that police sources say one suspect has been “neutralised”, meaning killed, but a further two still remain at large. Although identification has not been published, it has been confirmed the dead man is not Abdeslam.
Following last year’s Paris attacks Brussels was placed under the highest level terror threat from 21 November to 26 November, during which time bars, restaurants, museums, shops and even schools were restricted in opening times or closed, and the entire metro system was shut down.
A month later the Mayor of Brussels cancelled his city’s annual New Year’s fireworks display due to the ongoing terrorist threat hanging over it, declaring: “It is better not to take risks.”