Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam arrested

Since the Paris attacks in November 2015 Salah Abdeslam has been "Europe's most wanted man". Now the Belgian police have arrested the main suspect in Brussels' Molenbeek neighbourhood. Will his arrest lead to new insights about the plans of the IS terrorists?

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Večernji list (HR) /

Abdeslam just a little fish

The triumphal joy over Abdeslam's arrest is an attempt to conceal the West's major failure, the conservative daily Večernji list argues:

“The police and secret services claim he was the mastermind and orchestrator of the attacks - but in reality he is just another jihadist and suicide bomber sent by the IS. And according to that organisation's criteria he failed because he didn't have the courage to blow up even more of its hated enemies. … Some time ago we were shocked by 'Jihadi John', who took pride in being a brutal executioner. It took months to track him down too. … In the end the Western allies took pride in his liquidation. But both John and Abdeslam were just individuals carrying out an assignment for their organisation. The problem is that the West is wasting far too much energy and money on hunting down the little fish and not doing anything to tackle the circumstances that produce such criminals.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Time for rule of law to show its worth

Abdeslam must be given a fair trial following his arrest, the centre-left daily De Morgen insists:

“Now Europe finally has the chance to show why it is such a special continent. By giving one of the world's most important terrorist suspects a fair trial first a Belgian court and then a French one can make it clear that we live in countries governed by the rule of law. The basic rights of victims and attackers take precedence over the primitive revenge reflex. The trial will not end in an execution but a long prison sentence. It is a calming thought that a state based on the rule of law is able to triumph over the brutal violence of the IS.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Abdeslam trial will bring new insights

Salah Abdeslam's arrest is just one piece of the puzzle in the fight against IS terror, the conservative daily Le Figaro believes:

“The fight against Islamic terror is far from over. Nevertheless the arrest of Salah Abdeslam on Friday in Brussels is an undeniable success. ... His trial can begin - presumably in Paris, to where he is to be extradited. No doubt it will shed light on these fanatic, heavily-armed, highly-organised and determined Islamists. Far from being lone wolves, they benefit from strong rear support bases with dozens of accomplices who help them prepare and carry out their crimes, and then offer them protection. These neighbourhoods, which, like Molenbeek (where the special forces were attacked with stones!) are jihadists hotbeds at the heart of Europe's major cities, urgently need to be cleared.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Four-month search embarassing for secret services

Salah Adeslam was "Europe's most wanted man" after the Paris attacks. In the conservative daily Adevârul Horia Blidaru, political advisor in the European Parliament, asks why it took so long for him to be arrested:

“How was it possible for one of the November 13 attackers to remain hidden in a European capital for four months? If he had fled to Syria as everyone assumed it would have been less embarrassing for the Belgian and French security services. Granted, it's still a success that one of those responsible for the massacre has been captured - and alive. … In this way we have the chance to learn more about the organisation to which he belongs. … But those four months speak volumes about the underground networks that launched the attacks and within which Islamist terrorists can remain hidden right next to European institutions.”