Manhunt continues in Belgium after deadly raid | News | Al Jazeera

Manhunt continues in Belgium after deadly raid

Police identify man killed during counterterrorism raid in Brussels and warn of two suspects who are on the run.

    Belgium will not change its status of alert, which stands at Level Three [Thierry Monasse/AP]
    Belgium will not change its status of alert, which stands at Level Three [Thierry Monasse/AP]

    Belgian authorities have given warning that two suspects are still on the run, while identifying a man shot during a counterterrorism raid connected to last year's Paris attacks.

    The police killed a 35-year-old Algerian, Mohamed Belkaid, on Tuesday after a confrontation ensued when investigators tried to search a flat in the Brussels neighbourhood of Forest.

    Belkaid was living in Belgium illegally and was known to police and judicial authorities only for a theft committed in 2014, the state prosecution said.

    When investigators later entered the flat, they found a Salafist book and a Kalashnikov rifle next to Belkaid's body.

    They also discovered a flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group in the flat, as well as a large amount of ammunition.

    No explosives were found, the prosecution said.

    Identities unknown

    Belkaid was shot as he was about to open fire on police from a window, Thierry Werts, prosecution spokesman, said.

    Two other people who are also thought to have been in the flat were able to escape and remain on the run, the prosecution said.

    Their identities are unknown.

    Dozens of private garages and a storage space were also searched, but nothing was found [Yves Herman/Reuters]

    However, Belgium will not change its status of alert, which stands at Level Three, Charles Michel, prime minister, said on Wednesday, following a meeting of the National Security Council.

    It includes the ministers responsible for security matters and officials from intelligence services.

    This is one stage short of the highest alert level.

    It signifies a "possible and likely menace", Michel said, adding that police and military forces would remain out on the streets.

    "Our intention is to remain fully mobilised," he said.

    Appeal for calm

    Michel called on people to remain calm and assured them the security services were working to contain any threats.

    Al Jazeera's Emma Heyward, reporting from Brussels, said: "It is very much a live investigation ... . There are deep concerns about where [the two men] could be hiding out.

    France and Belgium seek to boost security ties

    "But this is something that Brussels is getting used to. Not on the scale that we saw last night here, but there had been more than 100 raids since the attacks in Paris."

    The attacks on the French capital last November left 130 people dead and hundreds injured.

    Dozens of private garages and a storage space were also searched, but nothing was found.

    No details could be given at present on a further raid conducted in a nearby neighbourhood, Werts said.

    Brussels has helped with the investigation into the Paris attacks, as several of the suspected perpetrators had links to Belgium.

    Separately, France detained four people on Wednesday near Paris on suspicion of plotting the November violence.

    One person was known to French authorities due to an existing prison record and was thought to have links with ISIL in Syria, Bernard Cazeneuve, interior minister, said.

    Three accompanying suspects were also detained.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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