Saturday 10 December 2016

'They were completely normal... from an honest family' - Brother of two Paris suspects says family are in shock

Sarah Collins in Brussels

Published 16/11/2015 | 19:30

Inset Abdeslam Salah
Inset Abdeslam Salah

The brother of two of the suspects in the Paris terrorist attacks - one of whom is dead and the other still on the loose - has said they were “normal brothers” from an “honest family”.

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Mohamed Abdeslam, who was himself taken in for questioning but released without charge on Monday, categorically denied having anything to do with the atrocities.

Speaking to the press outside the front door of his family home in Molenbeek, a largely north African suburb in the north-west of Brussels, Mr Abdeslam said he had no idea where his surviving brother, 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, was hiding.

“We don’t know where he is right now,” he said, in French. “We don’t know, given the current tensions, whether or not he dares to hand himself in.”

Salah Abdeslam is wanted by French police
Salah Abdeslam is wanted by French police

He said that he and his family had not yet come to terms with the course of events since the suicide attacks in Paris last Friday left 129 people dead and hundreds more injured.

“Despite the tragedy, my parents are in shock and have not yet grasped everything that has happened,” said Mr Abdeslam, who works for the local government. He added that he and his family “never thought for a moment” that his brothers could be involved in the attacks.

Abdeslam Salah (L) and Ahmad Almohamad
Abdeslam Salah (L) and Ahmad Almohamad

“I can’t tell you why and I can’t tell you how. We are an honest family. We have never had any problems with the police,” he said. And he added of Salah: “He grew up here, he studied here, he was a completely normal boy.”

He was speaking as police were winding up a raid on a house a few streets away, in the quiet Rue Delaunoy, where witnesses spoke of explosions earlier in the day.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 14: Members of the French community living in South Korea light candles at a vigil outside the French embassy on November 14, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. At least 128 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 14: Members of the French community living in South Korea light candles at a vigil outside the French embassy on November 14, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. At least 128 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Travelers arrive at Toulouse Blagnac Airport in Toulouse as soldiers from the 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (3e RPIMa) of Carcassonne, wait to leave for Paris, on November 14, 2015, as part of a reinforcement of security provisions, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / REMY GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
A woman looks at messages and flowers left at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
A woman lays a bunch of flowers at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 14: Members of the French community living in South Korea light candles at a vigil outside the French embassy on November 14, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. At least 128 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 14: Members of the French community living in South Korea light candles at a vigil outside the French embassy on November 14, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. At least 128 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Sweden's Prime minister Stefan Lofven lays down a flower next to the French ambassador to Sweden Jacques Lapouge outside the French embassy in Stockholm, November 14, 2015 a day after deadly attacks in Paris on November 14, 2015 in Stockholm. Two Swedish citizens may be among the victims of the attacks that killed more than 120 people in Paris, the foreign ministry said. AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / JOHAN NILSSON SWEDEN OUTJOHAN NILSSON/AFP/Getty Images
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 14: Messages, flowers and candles left by mourners lie at the gate of the French Embassy following the recent terror attacks in Paris on November 14, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Hundreds of people came throughout the day to lay flowers, candles and messages of condolence to mourn the victims of attacks last night in Paris that left at least 120 people dead across the French capital. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks that were carried out by at least eight terrorists. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Soldiers patrol at Toulouse Blagnac Airport in Toulouse, on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / REMY GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
A man lights a candle at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 14: A little girl lays a rose while standing over candlles arranged into the word "Paris" among flowers and messages left by mourners at the gate of the French Embassy following the recent terror attacks in Paris on November 14, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Hundreds of people came throughout the day to lay flowers, candles and messages of condolence to mourn the victims of attacks last night in Paris that left at least 120 people dead across the French capital. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks that were carried out by at least eight terrorists.. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 14: A hand-written sign in French reads: "We suffer with France" among flowers and candles left by mourners at the gate of the French Embassy following the recent terror attacks in Paris on November 14, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Hundreds of people came throughout the day to lay flowers, candles and messages of condolence to mourn the victims of attacks last night in Paris that left at least 120 people dead across the French capital. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks that were carried out by at least eight terrorists. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Soldiers from the 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (3e RPIMa) of Carcassonne, arrive at Toulouse Blagnac Airport in Toulouse, before leaving for Paris, on November 14, 2015, as part of a reinforcement of security provisions, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / REMY GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
A bunch of flowers is left with a message at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
A woman lays a bunch of flowers at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers patrol at Toulouse Blagnac Airport in Toulouse on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / REMY GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
A paper with a drawing of hearts in tricolour is fixed at the fence of the French embassy in Oslo, on November 14, 2015 a day after deadly attacks in Paris. The string of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13, 2015 left more than 120 people dead, in the worst such violence in France's history. AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-HENRY DESHAYESPierre-Henry DESHAYES/AFP/Getty Images
Leader of the French Far-right party the Front National (FN) Marine Le Pen delivers an address in Nanterre, suburban Paris on November 14, 2015, in response to the attacks in which at least 128 people were killed. Islamic State jihadists claimed a series of coordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris that killed at least 128 people in scenes of carnage at a concert hall, restaurants and the national stadium. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOTFRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images
French Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 14 which left more than 120 people dead. French President Francois Hollande today declared three days of national mourning following the deadly Paris attacks. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTINSTEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images
French Prime Minister Manuels Valls uses his mobile phone as he arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 14 which left more than 120 people dead. French President Francois Hollande today declared three days of national mourning following the deadly Paris attacks. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTINSTEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images
A woman places a bunch of flowers at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
A woman prays at messages and flowers left at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 14: An armed policeman patrols outside Atocha train station a day after the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. At least 127 people have been killed and over 200 injured in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, France on Friday night. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Portugal's players observe a minute of silence in honor of victims of the attacks that left at least 120 dead in Paris, prior to the friendly football match between Russia and Portugal in Krasnodar on November 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
A woman reacts as she looks at the flowers and messages left at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Sweden's Prime minister Stefan Lofven signs a condolence book at the French embassy next to the French ambassador to Sweden Jacques Lapouge in Stockholm, November 14, 2015 a day after deadly attacks in Paris on November 14, 2015 in Stockholm. Two Swedish citizens may be among the victims of the attacks that killed more than 120 people in Paris, the foreign ministry said. AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / JOHAN NILSSON SWEDEN OUTJOHAN NILSSON/AFP/Getty Images
Soldiers from the 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (3e RPIMa) of Carcassonne, arrive at Toulouse Blagnac Airport in Toulouse, before leaving for Paris, on November 14, 2015, as part of a reinforcement of security provisions, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / REMY GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: Lights in the colours of the French flag, light up the Auckland Museum to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: Signs are displayed during a vigil in Aotea Square to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: Lights in the colours of the French flag, light up the Auckland Museum to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Flowers and messages are left at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Soldiers from the 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (3e RPIMa) of Carcassonne, arrive at Toulouse Blagnac Airport in Toulouse, before leaving for Paris, on November 14, 2015, as part of a reinforcement of security provisions, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / REMY GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
A woman reacts as she looks at the flowers and messages left at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 14: An armed policeman patrols outside Atocha train station a day after the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. At least 127 people have been killed and over 200 injured in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, France on Friday night. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Soldiers and police officers stand guard outside the Assemblee Nationale in Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a total of six separate attacks, which killed at least 128 people in Paris, one targeting the national stadium where the French and German national football teams were playing a friendly. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAUMARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: Lights in the colours of the French flag, light up the Auckland Sky Tower to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: People gather during a vigil in Aotea Square to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: A sign is displayed during a vigil in Aotea Square to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: Signs are displayed during a vigil in Aotea Square to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: People gather during a vigil in Aotea Square to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: A sign is displayed during a vigil in Aotea Square to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: Lights in the colours of the French flag, light up the Auckland Museum to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 14: People gather during a vigil in Aotea Square to remember victims of the Paris attacks on November 14, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, over 150 people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris, including at a soccer game at the Stade de France and a concert at the Bataclan theater. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
A woman lights a candle close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Soldiers and police officers stand guard outside the Assemblee Nationale in Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a total of six separate attacks, which killed at least 128 people in Paris, one targeting the national stadium where the French and German national football teams were playing a friendly. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAUMARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
People mourn in front of the French consulate in The Hague on November 14, 2015 2015, where flowers have benn laid in hommage for the victims of deadly attacks in Paris a day before. The string of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13, 2015 left more than 120 people dead, in the worst such violence in France's history. AFP PHOTO / ANP / BAS CZERWINSKI ** netherlands out **BAS CZERWINSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Flowers are laid in front of the French consulate in The Hague on November 14, 2015 2015, in hommage for the victims of deadly attacks in Paris a day before. The string of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13, 2015 left more than 120 people dead, in the worst such violence in France's history. AFP PHOTO / ANP / BAS CZERWINSKI ** netherlands out **BAS CZERWINSKI/AFP/Getty Images
A woman places a lit candle near flowers left at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
French Education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 14 which left more than 120 people dead. French President Francois Hollande today declared three days of national mourning following the deadly Paris attacks. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTINSTEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images
Soldiers and police officers stand guard outside the Assemblee Nationale in Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a total of six separate attacks, which killed at least 128 people in Paris, one targeting the national stadium where the French and German national football teams were playing a friendly. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAUMARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
French Social Affairs and Health minister Marisol Touraine arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 14 which left more than 120 people dead. French President Francois Hollande today declared three days of national mourning following the deadly Paris attacks. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTINSTEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images
A message reading "Pray for Paris" lies amongst floral tributes near the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a total of six separate attacks, which killed at least 128 people in Paris, one targeting the national stadium where the French and German national football teams were playing a friendly. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIKPATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images
The flag of France flies at half mast at the French embassy in Helsinki, Finland on November 14, 2015 a day after deadly attacks in Paris. The string of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13, 2015 left more than 120 people dead, in the worst such violence in France's history. AFP PHOTO / Lehtikuva / VESA MOILANEN FINLAND OUTVESA MOILANEN/AFP/Getty Images
French soldiers of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) arrive to observe the Lebanese and national flags at half mast at the contingent headquarters in the southern Lebanese village of Deir Kifa on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around the French capital Paris late November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD ZAYYATMAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images
Two men pay their repects before laying flowers at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Flowers are laid on the Place des Droits de l'Homme (Human Rights Square) in Bordeaux on November 14, 2015 2015, in hommage for the victims of deadly attacks in Paris a day before. The string of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13, 2015 left more than 120 people dead, in the worst such violence in France's history. The placard reads "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" and "Shame, Cowards, Let's Resist". AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PIERRE MULLERJEAN-PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images
A police car is parked in front of the French embassy in Helsinki, Finland on November 14, 2015 a day after deadly attacks in Paris. The string of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13, 2015 left more than 120 people dead, in the worst such violence in France's history. AFP PHOTO / Lehtikuva / VESA MOILANEN FINLAND OUTVESA MOILANEN/AFP/Getty Images
A photo taken on November 14, 2015 shows a poster announcing the postponement of the French Top 14 rugby union match between Bordeaux and Clermont at the Chanban-Delmas stadium in Bordeaux, following the three days of national mourning after a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / JEAN PIERRE MULLERJEAN-PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images
French soldiers of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) observe the national flag at half mast at the contingent headquarters in the southern Lebanese village of Deir Kifa on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around the French capital Paris late November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD ZAYYATMAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images
A French soldier of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) observes the national flag at half mast at the contingent headquarters in the southern Lebanese village of Deir Kifa on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around the French capital Paris late November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD ZAYYATMAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images
Flowers are laid on the Place des Droits de l'Homme (Human Rights Square) in Bordeaux on November 14, 2015 2015, in hommage for the victims of deadly attacks in Paris a day before. The string of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13, 2015 left more than 120 people dead, in the worst such violence in France's history. The placard reads "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" and "Shame, Cowards, Let's Resist". AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PIERRE MULLERJEAN-PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images
French junior minister for Parliamentary Relations Jean-Marie Le Guen arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 14 which left more than 120 people dead. French President Francois Hollande today declared three days of national mourning following the deadly Paris attacks. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTINSTEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images
Two men pay their repects before laying flowers at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
SINGAPORE - NOVEMBER 14: Liverpool (R) and Manchester United players observe a minute of silence to remember the Paris attacks before The Castlewood Group Battle Of The Reds 2015 between Liverpool and Manchester United at National Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
A man close the Charles-Mathon stadium's entrance on November 14, 2015 in Oyonnax, central eastern France, as the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Oyonnax Rugby and Ulster Rugby is cancelled because of the three days of national mourning following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / ROMAIN LAFABREGUEROMAIN LAFABREGUE/AFP/Getty Images
French flag flies at half mast at the French embassy in Helsinki, Finland on Saturday, 14th Nov., 2015 following Paris attacks. REUTERS/Vesa Moilanen/LEHTIKUVA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND.
A protester wears a pin with a black ribbon and the French flag during a demonstration of Spanish Civil Guards in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. Spanish Civil Guards demonstrated for better working conditions, and showed their solidarity with the victims of the deadly attacks in Paris by carrying black ribbons and French flags. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Women hold a banner reading "France is in mourning" during a gathering in solidarity for France a day after deadly attacks in Paris on November 14, 2015 in Stockholm. Two Swedish citizens may be among the victims of the attacks that killed more than 120 people in Paris, the foreign ministry said. AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / JOHAN NILSSON SWEDEN OUTJOHAN NILSSON/AFP/Getty Images
People stand in front of the Charles-Mathon stadium's entrance in Oyonnax on November 14, 2015 in Oyonnax, central eastern France, as the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Oyonnax Rugby and Ulster Rugby is cancelled because of the three days of national mourning following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / ROMAIN LAFABREGUEROMAIN LAFABREGUE/AFP/Getty Images
People lay flowers at a rail cordon close to the Bataclan theatre in the 11th district of Paris on November 14, 2015, the day after a series of attack on the city resulting in the deaths of more than 128 individuals. Some 80 people were gunned down at the Bataclan theatre in Paris late November 13, during a concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
People stand in front the Charles-Mathon stadium's closed ticket office on November 14, 2015 in Oyonnax, central eastern France, as the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Oyonnax Rugby and Ulster Rugby is cancelled because of the three days of national mourning following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late November 13 which left more than 120 people dead. AFP PHOTO / ROMAIN LAFABREGUEROMAIN LAFABREGUE/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters hold black ribbons and a Spanish flag during a demonstration of Spanish Civil Guards in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. Spanish Civil Guards demonstrated for better working conditions, and showed their solidarity with the victims of the deadly attacks in Paris by carrying black ribbons and French flags. REUTERS/Susana Vera
A protester sticks a black ribbon printed on paper to a French flag during a demonstration of Spanish Civil Guards in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. Spanish Civil Guards demonstrated for better working conditions, and showed their solidarity with the victims of the deadly attacks in Paris by carrying black ribbons and French flags. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Rugby League - England v New Zealand - Third Test - DW Stadium, Wigan, England - 14/11/15 England players pause during a minute's silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match Action Images via Reuters / Ed Sykes Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Police patrol the Gare du Nord train station near a high-speed international Thalys train the morning after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik works on a sand sculpture to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks in Paris, in Odisha, India, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE
Rugby League - England v New Zealand - Third Test - DW Stadium, Wigan, England - 14/11/15 England players pause during a minute's silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match Action Images via Reuters / Ed Sykes Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
A protester holds a French flag with a black ribbon on it during a demonstration of Spanish Civil Guards in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. Spanish Civil Guards demonstrated for better working conditions, and showed their solidarity with the victims of the deadly attacks in Paris by carrying black ribbons and French flags. REUTERS/Susana Vera
A protester holds a French flag with a black ribbon on it during a demonstration of Spanish Civil Guards in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. Spanish Civil Guards demonstrated for better working conditions, and showed their solidarity with the victims of the deadly attacks in Paris by carrying black ribbons and French flags. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Candles, flowers and a leaflet with the slogan "I am Paris" are left in tribute to victims of Paris attacks in central Strasbourg, France, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
French military patrol near the Notre Dame Cathedral the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Football Soccer - Russia v Portugal - European Friendly - Kuban Stadium - 14/11/15Russia's (L) and Portugal's national teams observe a minute of silence to commemorate victims of attacks in Paris.REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg reacts during a news conference on the 13 November Paris attacks in Oslo, Norway 14 November, 2015.REUTERS/ Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY. NO COMMERCIAL SALES.
Football Soccer - Russia v Portugal - European Friendly - Kuban Stadium - 14/11/15Russia's (L) and Portugal's national teams observe a minute of silence to commemorate victims of attacks in Paris.REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg reacts during a news conference on the 13 November Paris attacks in Oslo, Norway 14 November, 2015.REUTERS/ Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY. NO COMMERCIAL SALES.
Tourists pause to take pictures as French military patrol near the Notre Dame Cathedral (not seen) the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Candles and a leaflet with the slogan "I am Paris" are left in tribute to victims of Paris attacks in central Strasbourg, France, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
Mourners bring candles and flowers to the French embassy to commemorate the victims of the Paris attacks in Helsinki, Finland on Saturday, 14th Nov., 2015. REUTERS/Vesa Moilanen/LEHTIKUVA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND.
Police secure the area near the screened-off facade of the Bataclan Cafe and its adjoining concert hall the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Memorial bouquets of flowers are placed on barriers near the Bataclan concert hall the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
French national and municipal police stand guard outside a commercial center in NIce, France, November 14, 2015, the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
People react in front of the Carillon cafe and the Petit Cambodge restaurant in Paris Saturday Nov. 14, 2015, a day after over 120 people were killed in a series of shooting and explosions. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A girl places a paper, carrying a peace sign featuring Eiffel Tower, next to candles and flowers in memory of victims of deadly attacks in Paris, outside the French embassy in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
A French policeman stands guard outside a commercial center in NIce, France, November 14, 2015, the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
An unnamed man brings his portable grand piano and plays John Lennon's Imagine by the Bataclan, Paris, one of the venues for the attacks in the French capital which are feared to have killed around 120 people. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday November 14, 2015. A state of emergency has been declared in France after a night of horror in the capital. There were two suicide attacks and a bombing near the Stade de France stadium, shootings at restaurants and a massacre inside a popular music venue in what is the worst violence to hit France since the Second World War. See PA story POLICE Paris. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire
A woman lights a candle next to flowers placed in memory of victims of deadly attacks in Paris, outside the French embassy in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. The papers read in French, "Spain with France" and "We are you, All together, Courage France". REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Women place papers next to candles and flowers in memory of victims of deadly attacks in Paris, outside the French embassy in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. The papers read in French, "Spain with France" and "We are you, All together, Courage France". REUTERS/Sergio Perez
A woman places flowers in memory of victims following a series of deadly attacks in Paris outside French embassy in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
The French (L) and Spanish flags flutter at half mast in memory of victims following a series of deadly attacks in Paris in front of Cibeles Fountain in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Tourists pause to take pictures as French military patrol near the Notre Dame Cathedral (not seen) the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman
A white rose is attached to a barrier as a French policeman with an automatic weapon secures the area near the Bataclan concert hall the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Candles are lit as people gather in Hong Kong, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, to mourn for the victims killed in Friday's attacks in Paris. French President Francois Hollande said more than 120 people died Friday night in shootings at Paris cafes, suicide bombings near France's national stadium and a hostage-taking slaughter inside a concert hall. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
People listen to speakers at a vigil in Trafalgar Square in London, following the terror attacks which killed at least 127 people in Paris last night . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 14, 2015. See PA story POLICE Paris. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
People listen to speakers at a vigil in Trafalgar Square in London, following the terror attacks which killed at least 127 people in Paris last night . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 14, 2015. See PA story POLICE Paris. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
People react in front of the Carillon cafe and the Petit Cambodge restaurant in Paris Saturday Nov. 14, 2015, a day after over 120 people were killed in a series of shooting and explosions. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Armed French police stand guard outside a commercial center in Nice, France, November 14, 2015, the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Dried blood can be seen on the window of the Carillon cafe in Paris Saturday Nov. 14, 2015, a day after over 120 people were killed in a series of shooting and explosions. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
People hold a French national flag whilst listening to speakers at a vigil in Trafalgar Square in London, following the terror attacks which killed at least 127 people in Paris last night . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 14, 2015. See PA story POLICE Paris. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
A woman attends a vigil in Trafalgar Square in London, following the terror attacks which killed at least 127 people in Paris last night . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 14, 2015. See PA story POLICE Paris. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
The sun rises over a chalk memorial to the victims of the attacks in Paris, in Union Square Park in the Manhattan borough of New York November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
People light candles outside the French embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, for the victims killed in Friday's attacks in Paris. French President Francois Hollande said more than 120 people died Friday night in shootings at Paris cafes, suicide bombings near France's national stadium and a hostage-taking slaughter inside a concert hall. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
French people living in Thailand hold candles for the victims of Friday's attacks at the Alliance Francaise in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. French police are hunting for possible accomplices of assailants who terrorized Paris concert-goers, cafe diners and soccer fans in the countrys deadliest peacetime attacks. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel along with government ministers writes in the book of condolence at the French embassy in Berlin, Saturday Nov. 14, 2015. French President Francois Hollande said more than 120 people died Friday night in shootings at Paris cafes, suicide bombings near France's national stadium and a hostage-taking slaughter inside a concert hall. The ministers from left, Justice Minister Heiko Mass, Head of the Chancellery Peter Altmaier, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Alexander Dobrindt, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Two women attend a vigil in Trafalgar Square in London, following the terror attacks which killed at least 127 people in Paris last night . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 14, 2015. See PA story POLICE Paris. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
French national and municipal police stand guard outside a commercial center in Nice, France, November 14, 2015, the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
A man listens to speakers at a vigil in Trafalgar Square in London, following the terror attacks which killed at least 127 people in Paris last night . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 14, 2015. See PA story POLICE Paris. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
People attend a vigil in Trafalgar Square in London, following the terror attacks which killed at least 127 people in Paris last night . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 14, 2015. See PA story POLICE Paris. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Smoke could be seen rising from buildings in the distance as police patrolled a cordoned off section of the small, unassuming street in a neighbourhood that has become synonymous with extremism, and where police in the Belgian capital often fear to go.

Fouad Ben Abdelkader, a neighbour and local youth worker, urged France and the rest of the world not to label the suburb as a hotbed of extremism.

“Please don’t stigmatise this suburb of Molenbeek and don’t say that it’s a bastion of terrorism because the young people of this neighbourhood are not terrorists,” he told reporters as he waited outside the police cordon to be allowed back to his home.

Abdelkader, who knew Salah Abdeslam, said the Belgian authorities were aware of the social problems in the neighbourhood, and that it was frustration and disaffection that drove the young people there to radicalise.

“We have been pointing out for decades that there was a certain type of radicalisation taking hold,” he said. “It’s not caused by religion, it’s caused by a social fabric that has been torn asunder,” he said.

The Brussels raid took place as French police descended on suspects in 19 Parisian suburbs, as well as locations in Lille, Lyon, Toulouse, Marseille and other large cities, with 23 people remanded in custody.

French president François Hollande on Monday called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss counter-terrorism, as EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels pledged to work closer together to defeat extremism and find a political solution to the threat posed by Islamic State in Syria.

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