18/03/2016 World News Today


18/03/2016

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This is BBC News. Continuing coverage of the police raid in

:00:09.:00:20.

Brussels. The main developments. At least two suspects have been

:00:21.:00:24.

arrested in the raid, including the only known surviving gunman from

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last year's Terrace attacks in Paris, in which 130 people died.

:00:29.:00:34.

This is the moment that Belgian special Armed Forces began the raid

:00:35.:00:40.

on the property. Salah Abdeslam was arrested after being shot and

:00:41.:00:44.

wounded. He has been on the run since the Paris attacks in November.

:00:45.:00:53.

More explosions in the district have been heard tonight as police hunt

:00:54.:01:00.

for more suspects who fled the scene. This is the live in the

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Belgian capital where police have sealed off the area where the raid

:01:05.:01:07.

took place. There are reports of more arrests.

:01:08.:01:29.

Hello and welcome to BBC News. Anti-terror police in the Belgian

:01:30.:01:35.

capital of Brussels say they have arrested three people, including the

:01:36.:01:40.

main suspect in the Paris attacks last November. Sal Abdeslam was

:01:41.:01:43.

detained after anti-terror police carried out a raid in the Mullen

:01:44.:01:47.

back area of the city, during which shots were fired.

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Abdeslam, 26, has been on the run since November. It is believed he

:01:52.:01:57.

played a key role in the attacks last November which killed 130

:01:58.:02:02.

people. Media are reporting police have also captured two other

:02:03.:02:03.

suspects. As ambulances were heading to the

:02:04.:02:14.

scene, police sources here in Brussels were already saying they

:02:15.:02:18.

had got their man. Sal Abdeslam, the prime suspect in the Paris attacks,

:02:19.:02:24.

sources said shot in the leg and in custody. Filmed by an eyewitness,

:02:25.:02:29.

police amassing as they hunted him. It was mid afternoon in a Molenbeek

:02:30.:02:33.

area of Brussels. Dozens of units descended. There was gunfire. One

:02:34.:02:39.

witness said he saw a man being chased down the road, shot and then

:02:40.:02:43.

falling. For Belgian police, this seems to have been a considerable

:02:44.:02:47.

success. Sal Abdeslam, the prime suspect from the Paris attacks,

:02:48.:02:52.

wounded in the leg and then the teams arrested at the top of this

:02:53.:02:56.

street, following these police investigations that have been going

:02:57.:02:58.

on since the Paris attacks, which have traced to this location.

:02:59.:03:04.

Belgian's Prime Minister Charles Michel rushed out of the summit of

:03:05.:03:07.

European leaders taking place across town to be briefed on the operation.

:03:08.:03:14.

He and Francis Holland were briefed on the situation. Sal Abdeslam has

:03:15.:03:18.

evaded police since November. Prosecutors say he was a key player

:03:19.:03:22.

in the Paris attacks. Earlier this week, his fingers were found after

:03:23.:03:25.

police raid this house in Brussels. It is thought he may have escaped

:03:26.:03:29.

out of a back window as another man fired at offices to give them pinned

:03:30.:03:33.

down. Police were on his trail and closing in, the neighbours had no

:03:34.:03:39.

idea he had been in the house. I opened my door to pick up my son at

:03:40.:03:45.

school and I heard a lot of policeman yelling at me, go home, go

:03:46.:03:53.

home, go home. Actually, this shooting had just happened, the

:03:54.:03:58.

first one, and the operation was happening just in front of me and we

:03:59.:04:06.

didn't realise. Sal Abdeslam has been taken to hospital to be treated

:04:07.:04:10.

for his ruins. No officers were injured in the operation. After

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months of painstaking, this was a success for the police, but it has

:04:17.:04:20.

also raised tensions in Molenbeek this evening. Riot police were

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brought in to deal with groups drawn in by the presence of so many

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officers on the streets. Hopefully we will be talking to

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Damien later in Mullen -- Molenbeek, but let's cross

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Damien later in Mullen -- Molenbeek, bring us up to speed with where we

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are now. In the last bring us up to speed with where we

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reports of more bring us up to speed with where we

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streets of Molenbeek and also local media reports of further arrests.

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Bell that is the situation at the moment. The operation does seem to

:04:50.:04:55.

be ongoing. Reports of explosions that I believe we are not sure

:04:56.:05:01.

exactly what might be causing them. We know Sal Abdeslam has been

:05:02.:05:05.

arrested and injured. A second man has also been arrested. He is

:05:06.:05:13.

another person who is wanted in relation to those attacks. Those

:05:14.:05:19.

reports are coming out now of a third person, possibly being

:05:20.:05:23.

arrested by police, and I think Damien was saying earlier that there

:05:24.:05:26.

were reports that police were targeting another house in the area

:05:27.:05:28.

where he may have been hiding from them.

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Lucy, I presume this is being covered wall-to-wall in France. This

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must come as a huge relief. The most wanted man in Europe and of course

:05:41.:05:44.

in France, months after those deadly attacks on November 13, has at last

:05:45.:05:51.

been captured. This is very big news in France. A great relief I should

:05:52.:05:56.

imagine for the government here. The authorities had been under enormous

:05:57.:06:00.

pressure to capture him. He was the key surviving suspects from those

:06:01.:06:04.

attacks. As such, the fact he has been captured alive and is

:06:05.:06:07.

potentially able to answer questions will be of enormous interest to the

:06:08.:06:14.

government here. The attacks still have left a real scar under Franz

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and the threat against France remains very strong. We are told the

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president has repeatedly warned it is being targeted by groups like

:06:26.:06:27.

Islamic State. The fact they have caught a man who can potentially

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give them valuable information about other people who might be connected

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to the network about logistics. It will be of incredible value to the

:06:40.:06:43.

intelligence services, who are trying to stop future attacks. The

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$64,000 question is whether he is able to tell them whether he will

:06:48.:06:50.

choose to. The fact he has been caught alive is a huge boost to the

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security forces in France and Belgium, who have been under

:06:55.:07:02.

increasing pressure to bring this opportunity to a successful

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conclusion. Lucy, there is a real sense, is there not, in France, that

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it is still a target and remains a target. It is a country on a

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heightened sense of alert. The government has already said they

:07:15.:07:17.

have managed to foil several attacks in the past

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few months and it is clear that France has been regularly named by

:07:21.:07:24.

militants he would choose to do damage towards it. Still very much a

:07:25.:07:32.

question of how best to of the problems of the intelligence

:07:33.:07:39.

agency is dealing with is that the profile of many people who have

:07:40.:07:42.

carried out attacks in the past year is very broad. These are not people

:07:43.:07:47.

who are seen as ardent Islamist militants. These are people who are

:07:48.:07:51.

perhaps more known to local police as petty criminals who have made the

:07:52.:07:55.

transition to militant Islam very, very quickly indeed. You might

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remember there was talk of the Abdeslam brothers running a

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bar, drinking alcohol, smoking cannabis, just

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shortly before they carried out these attacks in the name of radical

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Islam. It is difficult for the intelligence agency to pinpoint who

:08:13.:08:14.

they should follow most closely, where they should put most of their

:08:15.:08:19.

resources. Anything we can get -- they can get in the pursuit of

:08:20.:08:23.

narrowing the search will be greatly appreciated. The problem is whether

:08:24.:08:29.

Abdeslam will choose to talk. Indeed. Walk us through recent

:08:30.:08:33.

events that led us to today. Of course involving huge amounts of

:08:34.:08:41.

close cooperation of France and Belgium. A relationship that has not

:08:42.:08:42.

been without its tensions. embarrassment that some of the

:08:43.:08:49.

suspects managed to slip through the hands of the authorities. Sal

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Abdeslam managed to cross checkpoints into Brussels after the

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attacks and that was embarrassing for both sides. They have been

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working together, as you say, not without tensions, but they have been

:09:08.:09:10.

working together. The manhunt has been enormous. The resources given

:09:11.:09:16.

have been enormous. We found on Tuesday there was a strong lead, a

:09:17.:09:19.

strong sense they were on the right trail, when they found fingerprints

:09:20.:09:26.

belonging to Sal Abdeslam in the property in Molenbeek and also an

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exchange of gunfire with some of his presumed

:09:32.:09:32.

was a real sense that they were on the right trail. Having said that,

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they also found fingerprints of Sal Abdeslam in December which did not

:09:43.:09:46.

leave them anywhere useful. It seems they have found

:09:47.:09:46.

some information in that house, whether it

:09:47.:09:50.

they arrested there, evidence they've done inside the property

:09:51.:09:55.

that led them to where they are today, and they have Sal Abdeslam

:09:56.:10:02.

final in custody. After this intends for manhunt.

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We can speak to our reporter who was there when it took place. I was in

:10:11.:10:20.

the centre of Molenbeek, where the house raid was. The house that was

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rented by somebody and where Abdeslam was hiding. It is

:10:29.:10:32.

in the centre of Molenbeek, close to the centre of Brussels.

:10:33.:10:38.

really in the suburbs. It is close to the centre. What efforts were

:10:39.:10:47.

made to protect civilians? We could see

:10:48.:10:50.

people inside shops and walking along the street while this was

:10:51.:10:55.

happening. When they raided the house worth Sal Abdeslam was hiding,

:10:56.:11:04.

they had made a safety zone around the house and people were

:11:05.:11:06.

-- Salah Abdeslam. The raids continued in several other places,

:11:07.:11:18.

several other houses. We could see special forces were entering houses

:11:19.:11:20.

around the neighbourhood without actually taking the civilians at a

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distance. That was a bit frightening, because you could see

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people who were trying to get to their

:11:31.:11:31.

houses, but then police officers would stop

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although there was not really a sign of a safety

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zone. People didn't know where to go to. Extraordinary pictures, a normal

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day in this part of the Belgian capital. These extremely heavily

:11:46.:11:50.

armed police out on the streets. What did you hear? There were

:11:51.:11:51.

reports of gunfire. What was the People were surprised and were

:11:52.:12:00.

wondering what the sound was and where it was coming from. People

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knew these were explosions, shootings, but they didn't really

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want to believe that this was really happening in their neighbourhood.

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People asked. They asked what is happening, why are they doing this?

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People were frightened, wondering, wanted to know what was happening,

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why they couldn't go home. That seems to be a

:12:18.:12:20.

bit more quiet now. People are aware about

:12:21.:12:23.

what is going on. They know that Salah Abdeslam is

:12:24.:12:31.

arrested at the moment. Things aren't more quiet now. How much of a

:12:32.:12:36.

relief will this be for the Belgian authorities, that this man, who has

:12:37.:12:38.

been on the run for all this time, is finally in custody. On the one

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hand, it is a relief because they have arrested and have him alive,

:12:48.:12:54.

and he might eventually speak. It is a relief but on the other hand, this

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whole operation also shows that the network is very broad, the Paris

:13:01.:13:09.

attacks, but attacks that are still plans to take place later on, but it

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is a relief on one hand, but it also shows that there is reason to be

:13:18.:13:23.

concerned and worried about what are the other plans. . How is Molenbeek

:13:24.:13:35.

compared with other districts which might Molenbeek has been in the

:13:36.:13:40.

picture as the terrorist capital of Europe. It is true that Salah

:13:41.:13:52.

Abdeslam has been found there. Not only is Molenbeek ablaze with these

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guys are hiding, other districts of Brussels and also Antwerp is a

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region where we find people connected to these networks. We

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can't say that is Molenbeek is the one and only centre of terror in

:14:14.:14:17.

Europe, not at all. In many countries across Europe, there are

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efforts being made by the authorities to have a better

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relationship with Islamic communities. What efforts are being

:14:29.:14:33.

made in Belgium, in Brussels in particular, to reach out to these

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groups? This is also something, last year already, after the foiled

:14:40.:14:47.

attacks, where they found terrorists, they were starting to

:14:48.:14:52.

approach the Moslem community to get a better understanding. Over the

:14:53.:14:59.

last year, this didn't really help a lot. Lots of talking and nothing

:15:00.:15:07.

really happening. After the Paris attacks, now politicians and

:15:08.:15:12.

activists are doing a bigger effort to understand Islam and to

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understand the community in Molenbeek and this is something we

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see. It is new, the first steps are being made. It is not at all

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finished yet, it is ongoing, but it is very important that this

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continues. We appreciate you talking to us. She was at the scene as the

:15:31.:15:37.

raid took place earlier in the afternoon.

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Our world affairs editor joins me now. So much focus on this

:15:46.:15:51.

particular suburb of Brussels. Molenbeek, a reference to its being

:15:52.:15:55.

the tourist capital of Europe. Something we have heard bandied

:15:56.:15:59.

about in the media since November 13. To what degree is this true? It

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is difficult to tell, except that we have no significant number of the

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people involved in the Paris attacks have come from that specific

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district. It is a particularly rundown area, an area which is,

:16:13.:16:20.

bizarrely, it seems very night. A heavy concentration of people from

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North Africa, a lot of Muslims living in that area. Not much

:16:25.:16:29.

connection with the rest of the city. Security officials talk about

:16:30.:16:34.

it as being something of a breeding ground for jihadists. As we were

:16:35.:16:38.

hearing just now, it is a broader problem across Belgium, but Bob what

:16:39.:16:43.

we know is a very large numbers of Belgians in terms of per capita have

:16:44.:16:48.

gone to fight in Iraq and Syria alongside so-called Islamic State

:16:49.:16:52.

and quite a significant number have returned to Belgium. They clearly

:16:53.:16:57.

have a very significant problem. As we are seeing now, the network of

:16:58.:17:01.

people involved in the Paris attacks seems to be broadening and

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broadening. The fact they are now saying that potentially three people

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have been detained in this latest raid, more people, and obviously the

:17:09.:17:13.

raids are ongoing. We have to see just quite how broad it is going to

:17:14.:17:18.

go, but it seems like a significant number of people involved. Everyone

:17:19.:17:22.

expected at the time, because it was such a sophisticated, well-planned

:17:23.:17:29.

attack. I think we can now see some pictures of one of these recent

:17:30.:17:33.

arrests that have taken place in Molenbeek. There we are. These are

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not live pictures, this is from a few hours ago. Let's listen.

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INDISTINCT SHOUTING. We are watching these pictures again

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from a few hours ago. These are pictures of one of the arrests being

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made on the streets of Molenbeek by Belgian police. We are not entirely

:18:23.:18:26.

sure at this stage who that particular man is that is being

:18:27.:18:31.

bundled into the back of that car. Let's have another watch now to see

:18:32.:18:37.

exactly how many men we can see. Local media is reporting that a

:18:38.:18:42.

third arrest has been made, but we don't know at this stage who that

:18:43.:18:44.

particular man is. We think now that we can see two

:18:45.:19:01.

separate men being arrested at this stage. This man being the first

:19:02.:19:07.

there in the cream, off-white hoodie, that is being put into the

:19:08.:19:13.

back of that lack faults like an car. Here comes the second now.

:19:14.:19:18.

Recent speculation is now by local media that there has been a third

:19:19.:19:21.

arrest. We are awaiting confirmation on that. Let's cross back to the

:19:22.:19:28.

live pictures now. This is the scene currently as it is in Molenbeek.

:19:29.:19:32.

Let's go back a couple of hours, referencing those pictures we just

:19:33.:19:36.

sort of valves arrests. What did you make of them? It is interesting.

:19:37.:19:41.

They clearly knew what they were doing, the apartments they targeted,

:19:42.:19:45.

they had good information. The point to bring out is that it all stems

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from earlier raid on Tuesday when one man was shot dead and two

:19:50.:19:55.

managed to escape. It seems that Abdeslam was one of those people.

:19:56.:19:58.

One we have seen being arrested just now, or the video of it, where from

:19:59.:20:03.

that apartment in the first rate this week. Clearly the police and

:20:04.:20:09.

intelligence agency had good information and knew what they were

:20:10.:20:14.

doing. Thank you for talking to us. Let's speak to a French security

:20:15.:20:21.

consultant. Thank you very much for patiently waiting to speak to us.

:20:22.:20:28.

How is this arrest and raid being seen in Paris? They are being seen

:20:29.:20:38.

as finally, after the fourth try, they have been able to capture

:20:39.:20:44.

Abdeslam. What is really important to say that he did not try to flee

:20:45.:20:55.

Belgium, he stayed there. He was hiding, but he was hiding for four

:20:56.:20:59.

Mons. It is important to look at the support networks, because he could

:21:00.:21:10.

not have gone undetected for four months a while. Security services

:21:11.:21:13.

will be looking closely at what is happening in Molenbeek and other

:21:14.:21:21.

places. On Twitter, congratulations to the Belgian authorities on the

:21:22.:21:27.

capture of Salah Abdeslam. How much pressure have the Belgian

:21:28.:21:33.

authorities been under? A lot, from the French first, because obviously

:21:34.:21:38.

they were close to being ridiculed for having let him go and missed him

:21:39.:21:47.

three times. There were reports of him being in another district of

:21:48.:21:54.

Brussels for three weeks undetected. They were under a lot of pressure to

:21:55.:21:59.

show they were competent and that they would get the job done. It

:22:00.:22:04.

hasn't just been down to the Belgian authorities, has it? What French

:22:05.:22:11.

involvement has there been? What has been decided a month ago at the

:22:12.:22:15.

level of the Prime Minister, between France and Belgium, was open book

:22:16.:22:22.

cooperation, sharing information for the first time, what we saw on

:22:23.:22:30.

Tuesday, a joint operation where French forces took part in the raid

:22:31.:22:34.

in Brussels. That is very telling about how much those two nations

:22:35.:22:41.

need to work together. That is assigned for the nations in Europe

:22:42.:22:45.

to look at this and say, if we don't stick together, then all this will

:22:46.:22:52.

happen time and time again. The state secretary has been tweeting,

:22:53.:22:56.

we've got him. Clearly, they are very pleased to have him alive. How

:22:57.:23:01.

important was it, as far as you are aware, that he was taken alive, even

:23:02.:23:08.

though possibly wounded? Hugely important, because for a lot of

:23:09.:23:14.

reasons. Unfortunately, we are flying blind, so to have somebody

:23:15.:23:18.

that actually took part in the planning, the preparation, the

:23:19.:23:23.

knowledge of all the different networks within Islamic State in

:23:24.:23:29.

Europe, is huge. What people have to remember, as well, is that,

:23:30.:23:36.

Abdeslam, compared to the others, got cold feet, and most probably as

:23:37.:23:41.

we saw through his suicide belt before leaving. He might be more

:23:42.:23:47.

willing to target than somebody who would have been even more of a

:23:48.:23:54.

hard-core radical Islamic. His ability to remain in Belgium all

:23:55.:24:00.

this time since those attacks in November in Paris throws up a great

:24:01.:24:06.

deal of questions. How surprised are you that he stayed in Europe when

:24:07.:24:10.

there was speculation that he had fled to Syria? Might take was, I

:24:11.:24:18.

wouldn't see him go to Syria for one reason only. My reasoning is that,

:24:19.:24:25.

if he were to rejoin the Islamic State, he would be viewed as someone

:24:26.:24:29.

that's decided not to go ahead with the operation. His life most

:24:30.:24:34.

probably have been more at risk in Syria than staying in Belgium. It

:24:35.:24:39.

would make sense for him to stay in Europe. The question about the

:24:40.:24:48.

support networks come into play. The money, logistics, people renting the

:24:49.:24:51.

apartments on his behalf, all this shows that Belgium is the nexus, if

:24:52.:24:58.

you will, of jihadist terrorism in Europe. But how likely is it that he

:24:59.:25:02.

has had support from the middle east, from Islamic State in Iraq or

:25:03.:25:14.

Syria, rather than just in Belgium? I would say that it is unlikely that

:25:15.:25:21.

after an operation that he took part in and fled, that he would have had

:25:22.:25:26.

more support from Iraq and Syria. It was the local networks, and that is

:25:27.:25:34.

what is really worrisome, that this ingrained radical element that I

:25:35.:25:40.

living in Belgium at the moment and that could help him. We will stop

:25:41.:25:47.

you there. We really appreciate you sharing your inside with us. We will

:25:48.:25:52.

speak to you again in a moment. I want to update people if you have

:25:53.:25:56.

just joined us, you are watching BBC News where we are following this

:25:57.:26:00.

raid that is still underway. An operation in the district of

:26:01.:26:04.

Molenbeek in the Belgian capital of Brussels. Stay with us.

:26:05.:26:07.

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