Fear that Salah Abdeslam will engage in a terror attack has resulted in a lock down of Brussels, one of Europe’s largest cities.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) November 21, 2015
Security forces are searching for Abdeslam and another person who may have a bomb. No further details were provided.
Abdeslam, said to be the loner survivor of the Friday, November 13 attack in Paris, is the subject of the one of the largest manhunts in European history.
According to authorities, Abdeslam was the driver of a car that allegedly delivered attackers to the Bataclan theater in the 11th arrondissement of Paris where 89 people were killed. Although the Islamic State took credit for the Paris attacks, Abdeslam’s only connection with the terror group based in Syria and Iraq is through social media.
On Saturday it was reported Abdeslam had contacted friends via Skype and asked them for help returning to Syria. The friends then contacted ABC News and said he was caught between the extensive police search and local Islamic State members who were “watching him” because they were displeased he had failed to detonate his suicide vest after the attacks.
ABC News reported:
Abdeslam insisted he played only a minor role in the attacks, but his friends said they doubted his claim of innocence. His brother told ABC News that Abdeslam was “manipulated” by the attack mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, killed in a police raid Thursday in France.
The US embassy in Brussels issued a message on Saturday instructing American citizens to “shelter in place and remain at home.”
“In this time of elevated threat, the US Embassy in Brussels reminds US citizens to exercise caution in public transportation systems, sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations,” the message stated.