Salah Abdelslam, the most wanted suspect in the Paris terror attacks, once again managed to escape police after he was spotted and he was reportedly heading towards the German border in a BMW, Telegraph says quoting a French newspaper.
Germany has kept security along its border with Belgium at a high level since the Paris attacks, a German police spokesman said responding to media reports that Abdeslam was spotted near the frontier.
Belgian Federal prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt announced in a midnight press conference Sunday that police had detained 16 people in 22 raids but that Paris fugitive Abdeslam was not among them.
Van Der Sypt evaded the question about his whereabouts.
He said police fired two shots at a car that approached them as they searched a snack bar in Molenbeek. The vehicle escaped but was stopped later in Brussels, and a wounded person inside was arrested. It was not immediately known if the person was linked to the investigation into the Paris attacks.
La Dernier Heure (The Latest Hour), a French daily published in Brussels, said Abdeslam was spotted by Belgian police near the city of Liege about 7.30 pm on Sunday evening but he managed to evade them.
He then headed in the direction of Germany on the E40 motorway and again avoided a police checkpoint set up to intercept him.
The raids took place on Sunday after the Belgian Prime Minister reaffirmed that there was an ‘imminent and serious’ threat of a terrorist attack.
Brussels remained locked down for the third day Monday with metro services suspended, all schools closed and the terror threat level still at 4.
The morning after the Nov. 13 attacks, Abdelslam was stopped by French police near the Belgian border in a car along with two other men but he was allowed to proceed because police did not yet know of his alleged involvement in the Paris massacre.
Since then, he was reportedly spotted several times at locations across the Belgian capital.
Interior Minister Jan Jambon told Belgian radio: “The operation is not finished. We will continue until we clean up this mess.”
Asked about Salah Abdeslam, Jambon said he could not give operational details but pledged there would be no let up in the manhunt.
“The actions will continue in the coming hours. Everybody knows there is a certain danger with him, so yes, he is an important target.”
Abdeslam’s elder brother Brahim blew himself up outside a Paris bar in the November 13 attacks and the 26-year-old is suspected of playing a key role in the massacre.
Another brother, Mohamed, on Sunday urged Salah to give himself up as only that way would his own family, and those of the victims, find an answer to the suffering he had help inflict.