Armed police secure an area in Brussels after police launched an anti-terror raid linked to last year’s Paris attacks. Photo / AP
Officials in Belgium say a man has been found dead in a Brussels apartment following an anti-terror raid linked to the November 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.
A police official, who asked not to be identified because the operation was ongoing, said police found a body after they stormed an apartment Tuesday (local time). Earlier in the afternoon, an anti-terror raid turned violent when at least one suspect shot at police officials through a door. Four officers were injured, none fatally.
It was not clear if the man found dead was one of the people police were looking for in the raid in the Forest neighborhood. Forest mayor Marc-Jean Ghyssels told local media two people had barricaded themselves in a home, but it was not clear what happened to them.
The lockdown in the area continued more than an hour after the first shots were fired and is close to Molenbeek, home to several people involved in the Paris attacks.
Police sealed off a wide perimeter around the area where the shots were heard to keep the many bystanders at a safe distance. A helicopter was hovering overhead to patrol the area as police were still looking for at least one suspect. Several hundred spectators were trying to get a closer look at the operation in the multicultural neighborhood, which has a big Audi car factory nearby.
Several hooded officers wearing body armor milled around the neighborhood and ambulances were on standby.
Belgium police officers walk in single file on a street in Brussels during an anti-terror raid. Photo / AP
Four months on, Belgian police and magistrates have been still piecing together the role Belgian nationals played in aiding the Paris attackers, as well as trying to track down missing suspects including international fugitive Salah Abdeslam, whose brother Brahim was one of the suicide bombers.
The suspected ringleader of the attacks was a Brussels resident, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Another attacker, Bilal Hadfi, was said to have lived for a time in the Forest neighborhood.
Belgian authorities have stepped up their counterterror efforts since a lone gunman killed four people at the Brussels Jewish museum in May 2014. The small Western European country has also been prime recruiting ground for the Islamic State group, and officials freely acknowledge their concerns about what radicalised recruits might do after returning home from the battlefields of Syria or Iraq.