Paris attack fugitive's prints found in Brussels apartment

A Belgian prosecutor says investigators found the fingerprints of a Paris attacks suspect who has been on the run since November in a Brussels apartment they raided this week.
This undated file photo provided by the Belgian Federal Police shows Salah Abdeslam, who is wanted in connection with attacks in Paris. Belgian prosecutors said Friday that fingerprints of Abdeslam were found in a Brussels apartment that was raided earlier this week. (Belgian Federal Police/Associated Press)

Investigators found the fingerprints of a Paris attacks suspect who has been on the run since November in a Brussels apartment they raided this week, a Belgian prosecutor said Friday.

Two people escaped from the dwelling in the Forest neighbourhood of Brussels, but Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said it wasn't yet known if Salah Abdeslam, 26, was one of them. He also said it hasn't been established how old the fingerprints were, or how long Abdeslam spent in the apartment on the Rue Du Dries.

Abdeslam fled Paris after the Nov. 13 gun and bomb attacks that killed 130 people at a theatre, the national stadium and cafes. Most of the Paris attackers died that night, including Abdeslam's brother Brahim, who blew himself up. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, in which Belgian nationals played key roles.

Police who raided the Brussels apartment Tuesday found the banner of the Islamic State extremist group as well as 11 Kalashnikov loaders and a large quantity of ammunition, the prosecutor said.

A man was shot dead by a police sniper there as he prepared to open fire on police from a window. Police identified him as Mohamed Belkaid, 35, an Algerian national living illegally in Belgium.

A Kalashnikov assault rifle was found by his body, as well as a book on Salafism, an ultraconservative strain of Islam.

Police who went to search the apartment "were not expecting a violent armed reaction," Prime Minister Charles Michel said.

Four officers, including a French policewoman, were slightly wounded when they were shot at as they opened the door.

Abdeslam slipped through a police dragnet to return to Brussels after the Paris attacks, and though he is the target of an international manhunt, has not been seen since.

In January, Belgian authorities said one of his fingerprints was found alongside homemade suicide bomb belts at an apartment in another area of Brussels. Belgian prosecutors said it wasn't known whether he had been at the address in the Schaerbeek district before or after the Paris attacks, or how long he had spent there.