Two Suspects Still Sought After Shooting in Brussels Terror Raidby and
Slain gunman identified as 35-year-old Algerian national
Police find Kalashnikov, Islamic State flag in apartment
A manhunt continued for two suspects after a counter-terrorism raid in Brussels left one gunman dead and several police officers injured, with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel saying the risk of a terror attack remains “serious” and “probable.”
Michel said the terror threat level was left at three, the second-highest level, after a meeting of the National Security Council Wednesday afternoon. Earlier Wednesday, federal prosecutors identified the suspect killed in Tuesday’s raid as a 35-year-old Algerian national residing in Belgium illegally.
Police are searching for two other suspects who “were probably present” in the apartment at the time of the joint Belgian-French police action Tuesday afternoon. The raid, in the Forest borough of Brussels, was linked to the investigation into the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris.
“Security forces remain alert,” Michel told a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday. “The deployment of soldiers in the streets to reinforce police is confirmed.”
The slain gunman, identified as Mohamed Belkaid, born July 9, 1980, was found with a Kalashnikov rifle next to his body after he was killed by a police sniper in the operation, Eric Van der Sypt, spokesman for Belgium’s federal prosecutors office, told reporters on Wednesday in Brussels. The man was unknown to the police except for a case of theft in 2014, he said.
In the apartment, police found eleven loaders for Kalashnikovs and “innumerable shell casings” in the apartment, he said. No explosives were found. An Islamic State flag and book about radical Islam also were found in the residence, Van der Sypt said.
Gunfire erupted as a team of six police officers -- four Belgian and two French -- approached the residence in Rue du Dries in Forest. Four officers sustained minor injuries during the shooting, police said.
“We have been very lucky,” Prime Minister Michel said late Tuesday. “It could have been a drama.”
The Belgian probe into the Paris attacks has revealed that the Nov. 13 assaults were prepared and organized in the capital of neighboring Belgium. While suspected Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam remains on the run, Belgian authorities have detained a dozen other suspects on terrorism charges. All of the suspected terrorists had their residence in Brussels.
The prosecutors office said police are investigating two other suspects following the raid, one who was detained during a search of a house in Chaussee de Neerstal in Forest, and another who was brought to a hospital in Halle, a Flemish city west of Brussels, around 8 p.m. Tuesday with a broken leg.