Paris suspect Saleh Abdeslam jailed for 20 years over police shootout

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Belgian police conducted a raid on March 18, 2016 in Brussels that ended with two suspects in custody -- one of whom may be wanted Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam, a senior counter-terrorism official said.

Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of the cell alleged to have carried out the November 2015 Paris terror attacks, has been jailed for 20 years over a shootout with Belgian police days before he was arrested.

A Belgian court found Abdeslam guilty of attempted murder in a “terrorist context”, a spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor confirmed.

Abdeslam was involved in a confrontation with police in the Forest suburb of Brussels in March 2016, four months after the attacks on a Paris concert hall and restaurants left 130 people dead.

His co-defendant Sofien Ayari also received a 20-year sentence.

Abdeslam, a Belgian-born French national, was arrested three days after the shootout, in which four police officers were injured. Police found him in Molenbeek, another area of the Belgian capital, where his family live.

Neither of the two accused appeared in court for the verdict. After declaring on the first day of proceedings that the court was biased against Muslims and he would only “trust in Allah,” Abdeslam refused to attend the rest of the trial.

Abdeslam is in jail in France, where he is awaiting a separate trial over the 2016 Paris attacks.

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