March 27, 2016
Brussels Police Shoot Man With Bomb, Belgium, Germany and France Arrest More Terror Suspects
A bomb robot and a member of a bomb squad inspect the suspicious package at the scene moments after the dramatic stand-off.
A woman was taken hostage by a terror suspect in a dramatic stand-off at a tram stop in Brussels today.
Witnesses told how heavily armed anti-terror police shot the man in the leg because he was carrying a rucksack they believed contained a bomb.
As police moved in the suspect then grabbed a woman and pulled her to the ground.
In heart-stopping footage captured from a balcony above where the drama unfolded, the man can be seen letting a little girl no older than five go as officers get closer.
The clip then shows specially trained anti-terror police in bullet proof vests gently coaxing the frightened girl to safety as the target grabbed the woman.
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The dramatic scenes come as:
Seven were arrested during police raids in Brussels on Thursday night;
Among those held was convicted ISIS recruiter Reda Kriket;
The 34-year-old French national had been in the 'advanced stages' of planning an attack in France. He was found with heavy weapons and explosives in his apartment;
Two men were held in Germany suspected of being linked to the Brussels bombers;
Claims surfaced that Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam was plotting a machine gun massacre over Easter before he was arrested.
Today’s shootout, in the Schaerbeek area of north Brussels, began with two explosions, which triggered panic in a city still reeling from Tuesday’s bloodbath which left 31 dead and 270 injured.
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A group of women having their hair done at Meshairs hair salon over the road from the tram stop told of the moment they saw officers get the little girl away from the man.
Sabina, a hairdresser, told MailOnline: ‘I heard all this shouting and commotion outside. I looked out the window and saw the police approach, crouched down.
‘The man saw them and grabbed the woman and the child and took them hostage. He let the child go and pulled the woman to the ground and lay on top of her.
‘Then the police shot him in the leg. He was then pulled away by police. The woman was screaming and crying.’
The suspect was ‘neutralised’ and dragged off to a waiting police car, witnesses added.
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With the scene cleared, a bomb robot rolled in and lifted the rucksack, which a bomb disposal expert then inspected.
Photographs taken shortly afterwards showed smoke rising from the backpack, which may have been blown up in a controlled explosion.
Another video clearly showed a man wearing an orange jacket coaxing the child to safety before she was carried away to safety.
Today’s shooting took place in the Brussels suburb of Schaerbeek – the scene of a number of anti-terror raids in the last few days.
Najim Laachraoui, the master bomber who blew himself up at Zaventem airport on Tuesday, killing 14, and whose DNA was found on the suicide vests in Paris, lived in Schaerbeek.
DNA traces of Balal Hadfi, one of the Paris bombers, were also found in a flat in Schaerbeek along with a cache of explosives in December.
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One witness, speaking about today's raid, told local TV station RTBF: 'I heard two explosions, they were shooting. I opened the window and saw a man lying near the tram stop.
Another told La Libre newspaper: 'The police ordered him to show his hands, remove his jacket. They said that if he did not comply, they would use their weapons.'
The Mayor of Schaerbeek, Bernard Clerfayt, later confirmed that 'a person was intercepted by police and suffered a slight leg injury'. He added there had been several small explosions linked to bomb disposal work.
Sources at the scene told MailOnline a man inside the flat carrying explosives may have been about to launch a suicide attack.
It is thought two unmarked cars pulled up outside a house, after which two explosions were heard - one of which is understood to blown open the door. There is speculation that one of the explosions may have been a stun grenade.
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It comes as French President Francois Hollande said this afternoon the Islamist militant network behind attacks in Paris and Brussels was being destroyed, but there remained other cells that continue to pose a threat.
'We know that there are other networks. Even if the one behind the attacks in Paris and Brussels is in the process of being wiped out, a threat continues to remain,' Hollande said ahead of a meeting with former Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Meanwhile, there have been separate reports today of another raid in a Belgian town 60 miles south of Brussels.
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Three men of foreign origin were arrested at an 80-bedroom hotel in Dinant and police are searching the evacuated building for explosives.
The town's mayor Richard Fournaux said it was too early to say whether the operation was linked to the bombings earlier this week.
Two suspect packages have been found – one in a car near the building, which was hosting a business conference, and one in a hotel room.
Bomb disposal experts are examining both packages.
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Today's dramatic raid comes after seven people were arrested in Belgium and Paris overnight by masked anti-terror police across Europe in connection with the Brussels massacres and a new terror plot.
Armed police swooped on properties in the Schaerbeek and Jette districts of Brussels and arrested a total of six people, who are thought to be connected to Tuesday's airport and Metro bombings.
German police have also arrested two more people with suspected links to the attackers while a new suspect in the Brussels plot, 28-year-old Syrian Naim al-Hamed, has also been identified.
It comes as it was revealed that the Frenchman arrested in the northern Paris suburb of Argenteuil last night was a convicted ISIS recruiter who was in the 'advanced stages' of planning an attack in France.
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It comes as Belgian police admitted a catastrophic police blunder allowed Paris bombings logistics chief Salah Abdeslam to remain at large for more than three months.
A dedicated beat officer gave information about the whereabouts of Abdeslam to superiors on December 7 and urged them to pass it on to the country's anti-terrorist police. But the confidential report was inexplicably not passed onto the federal bureau.
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In Germany, it emerged that police had arrested two people they suspect are linked to the Islamist suicide bombers.
It said one of the men, arrested on Wednesday near Frankfurt, received two mobile phone messages shortly before the bombings that included the name of Khalid El Bakraoui, the man Belgian police say blew himself in a Brussels metro station.
Armed police shoot man 'carrying a bomb in a rucksack after he takes a woman hostage' at Brussels tram station as they swoop on terror suspects linked to 'imminent attack in France'
Armed police 'neutralised' terror suspect carrying a rucksack in the Brussels neighbourhood of Schaerbeek today
Two explosions were heard at the start of the terror swoop, after which a man was shot in the leg at a tram stop
Dramatic footage shows shot suspect being forced to drop the bag after which it was investigated by bomb squad
Operation linked to arrest in Paris last night of Reda Kriket, who had been in 'advanced stages' of planning an attack
By FLORA DRURY IN BRUSSELS, BELGIUM and SARA MALM and JULIAN ROBINSON and NICK FAGGE FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 08:24 EST, 25 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:33 EST, 25 March 2016