It is claimed a legal loophole allowed Salah Abdeslam to escape arrest in Belgium just two days after the Paris attacks.
Belgium’s Justice Minister says Abdeslam – dubbed “Europe’s most wanted man” – was traced to a flat in Brussels 48 hours after the attacks in November.
However, police were unable to arrest him as Belgian law currently forbids overnight raids except in specific circumstances.
Koen Geens insists there was no failure on the part of the police:
“Intelligence indicated that it was not out of the question that Abdeslam could be in the flat. We are not allowed to carry out raids between 2100 and 0500 so the law was no help in trying to arrest him.”
““There was no failure. The only thing I will say is the legislation could be more helpful in helping the security services be more efficient in cases like this.”
Salah Abdeslam is known to have been in Paris at the time of the November the 13th attacks that claimed the lives of 130 people.
He was identified during a routine road check as he returned to Belgium the next day but was allowed to pass through.
Believing Abdeslam was in Brussels and in possession of explosives, the Belgian capital was put on the highest level of alert.
A bomb belt believed to have belonged to Abdeslam was found in a litter bin in Paris.
He has evaded capture since the attacks.