The most wanted terrorist in Europe, considered a leader in November's multi-targeted attack in Paris that left 130 people dead, was arrested Friday by Belgian authorities.
But residents in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, where Saleh Abdeslam was captured, didn't breathe a sigh of relief. Within hours, the district, which has a majority Muslim population, erupted into riots. Dozens of Abdeslam's fans attacked police with bottles, stones, and other objects, local press reported, angered by the arrest of their "hero."
The situation is developing.
Worse yet, Belgian newspaper De Morgen reported (subscription only) that "the whole neighborhood" knew where Abdeslam was ever since the Paris attacks. Nobody tipped off authorities.
The violence and code of silence over Abeslam's hideout is not as surprising as it might seem. As we've noted previously, the Paris attacks were hatched in Molenbeek, in addition to the 2015 attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's offices.