ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 150

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Sixth suspect in Brussels attacks arrested in fresh raid

50 officers, snipers, sappers descend on central district apartment complex; police uncover more links between assaults in Paris, Belgian capital

File: Police investigate an area where terror suspect Mohamed Abrini was arrested in Brussels on Friday April 8, 2016.  (AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
File: Police investigate an area where terror suspect Mohamed Abrini was arrested in Brussels on Friday April 8, 2016. (AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

A sixth suspect believed to be involved in the Brussels attacks last month was arrested on Saturday in the central district of Etterbeek.

The arrest took place after a police raid on a building that involved more than 50 officers, snipers and the bomb squad, according to NBC news.

The building had been evacuated and roads to the apartment complex were closed off Saturday.

On Friday, Belgian authorities said that they had arrested five men, including Mohamed Abrini, the last identified suspect at large from the Paris attacks. Investigators are trying to determine whether Abrini is the “man in the hat” who escaped the Brussels attacks while three suicide bombers blew themselves up at the airport and in the city’s subway and whose likeness has been broadcast across the media for weeks.

Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini, seen left in an image released by Belgian police, is believed to be the 'third man' caught on CCTV at Brussels airport with the two men who blew themselves up there on March 22. Abrini was arrested in Brussels on April 8, 2016 (photos: AFP Photo/Belgian Federal Police/STR and Twitter)
Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini, seen left in an image released by Belgian police, is believed to be the ‘third man’ caught on CCTV at Brussels airport with the two men who blew themselves up there on March 22. Abrini was arrested in Brussels on April 8, 2016 (photos: AFP Photo/Belgian Federal Police/STR and Twitter)

Belgium’s prosecutor’s office said Saturday that a sixth person had been arrested, but refused to give any further details ahead of an announcement due out later in the day. Another one of the six, named only as Osama K. by authorities was identified by Swedish media as Osama Krayem, who is known to have left the Swedish city of Malmo to fight in Syria.

Belgium’s prosecutor’s office confirmed only that Osama K. was from Sweden. Swedish officials had no immediate comment.

Abrini and Krayem are suspected of participating in the two biggest attacks carried out by the Islamic State group in Europe over the past year, killing 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13 last year and 32 people in Brussels on March 22.

Police will be investigating Krayem’s role in Brussels: he was filmed by security cameras at a shopping mall where the bags used by the airport bombers were bought. French authorities also suspect Krayem of having links to the Paris attacks.

Krayem had earlier been identified posting photos from Syria on social media, according to Magnus Ranstorp, a counterterrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College.

“He also tried to recruit people in Malmo,” Ranstorp told The Associated Press.

The arrests could give investigators new insights into the Islamic State group cell believed to have carried out the attacks in both countries.

The detentions were a rare success for Belgian authorities, who have been pilloried for mishandling leads in the investigation. Both the interior and justice ministers had offered to resign before the detentions.

Despite multiple arrests, Brussels remains under the second-highest terror alert, meaning an attack is considered likely.

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