ISIS flag, jihadist manual found on body of Algerian-born suspect in Brussels raid
A routine inspection of a suburban apartment in southern Brussels on Tuesday erupted in a fire fight in which three officers were slightly hurt and a fourth sustained minor injuries, according to police. A subsequent raid took place three hours after the first operation, leading to the death of one gunman armed with a Kalashnikov. Two suspects reportedly fled the scene.
The fire fight led to a complete lockdown of the block around the rue du Dries, which lasted for several hours before residents were told it was safe to return to their homes.
The police operation connected to the Paris attacks of November was still ongoing on Wednesday, according to Prime Minister Charles Michel.
The dead suspect was identified as Belkhaid Mohammed, 35, an Algerian national residing in Belgium illegally, but who had not been on the authorities' radar before, the Belgium's federal prosecutor office’s spokesman Eric Van der Sypt said in a statement.
An Islamic State flag and a manual on Salafism were found close to his body, he added.
The French police assisting with the operation was a mere “coincidence” rather than an indication that the search had been expected to provide a breakthrough, according to officials.
The Forest neighborhood is close to Molenbeek, home to several people involved in the November 13 terror attacks which killed 130 people.
Two suspects connected to the French attacks are still at large in Belgium. One other suspect is Brussels-based and French-born Salah Abdeslam, reported to have equipped the bombers behind the Paris attacks. Ten of his cohorts in the attacks are currently being held.