3 People arrested in connection with Paris attacks
Posted by: KLKN Newsroom
At least three people have been arrested in Belgium as the investigation into the deadly Paris attacks has now spread across borders, officials told ABC News.
One of the people arrested is believed to have been involved in the coordinated attacks Friday, and investigators continue to search for others.
The search spread from France to Belgium after cars used in the attack were tracked to Brussels.
"Because they are looking for suspects, it was important to conduct operations in Brussels because of the ties they could potentially have here," an official told ABC News.
The operations are being conducted in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, the official said.
Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens told a Belgian radio station that authorities descended on Brussels after tracking down a rental car that was spotted outside a concert hall in Paris, the site of the bloodiest of attacks.
Police have also detained family members of one of the attackers, according to The Associated Press. He is believed to be a French man born in the Parisian suburbs.
Eight perpetrators were killed at the end of the attacks in Paris, seven of them by blowing themselves up with suicide vests, French police said. More than 120 people were killed in multiple shootings and bombings before the horror ended Friday night.
Daniel Benjamin, a former counterterrorism coordinator at the U.S. State Department, said Belgium has been grappling with a “serious jihadi issue” for more than a decade. The country has the dubious distinction of seeing more residents, per capita, traveling to Syria to fight with ISIS, he said.
“My impression is that Belgian authorities have been taking the threat more seriously as time as gone by,” Benjamin said. “But I don’t believe they have the capacities of the British or the French.”
Benjamin said the United States has been urging a number of European countries to increase their spending on police, surveillance and intelligence, especially in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January.
“This will probably be a pivot point,” said Benjamin, who is now the director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College.