Sunday, November 22, 2015

Six British men driving three old ambulances are arrested in Belgium

  • Officers swooped in to make arrests near Brussels in six armoured trucks
  • Same petrol garage was used by on the run Paris terrorist Salah Abdeslam
  • Brussels locked down for second day as terror threat is raised to highest level
  • Officials are meeting to discuss security over fears of an 'imminent' attack 
  • See more of the latest news on the terrorists behind the Paris attacks 
Six Pakistani born British men were arrested in Belgium yesterday after being spotted in three 'old ambulances' at a petrol station used by Paris terrorist Salah Abdeslam.

Armed police in six armoured trucks swooped in to arrest the men at around 2pm yesterday. They screamed at them to get out of the vehicles parked at an Esso garage said to be used by on the run Paris gunman and Europe's most wanted man, Abdeslam, 

The Britons were arrested just 20 miles from Brussels which was locked down for a second day today over fears of an 'imminent' Paris style attack.

Police officers, who inspected the contents of the three old ambulances overnight, were under orders to take them alive, Matthew Drake of the Sunday People reported. 

Officers found clothes, food and money inside the ambulances which were parked beside the E411 highway in Bierges, raising fears they may have been heading to Syria, it was reported.

Fugitive: One of the petrol station's workers said Paris terror suspected Salah Abdeslam (pictured) was a regular
Fugitive: One of the petrol station's workers said Paris terror suspected Salah Abdeslam (pictured) was a regular
The arrested men, one of whom is known to British police, did not speak French but have cooperated with detectives, a Belgian police commissioner said. 

He told the Sunday People: 'Shortly before 1400 hours (2pm), we found the ­presence old ambulances, now transformed into vans, on the highway rest area.' 

One of the petrol station's workers said Abdeslam, who is believed to have taken part in the Paris massacres which killed 130, was a regular at the garage and remembers him being 'quite nice, smiling'.

Abdeslam is said to be hiding out in the Belgian town of Molenbeek, which is considered the 'jihadi capital of Europe'. 
Police are investigating links to ISIS because using old ambulances is said to be one of the terror group's methods to conceal jihadis. 

The Wavre police force, who responded to reports of the suspicious ambulances said on its Facebook account yesterday: 

'This afternoon, the police of Wavre was called and intervened following the presence of people and vehicles suspects on the motorway area of Bierges.

'These events are not related to the current terrorist context, contrary to the information given in some media.'

Belgian security officials will meet today to decide whether the extend the security measures which turned Brussels into a ghost town.

The capital closed its metro system, shut shops and flooded the streets with armed police yesterday as the hunt for Paris gunman, Belgian born Abdeslam, was stepped up.

Brussels' historic Grand Place, usually bustling with tourists, has been quiet and empty over the weekend, save a few soldiers and the armoured vehicle stood outside the town hall.

The national security committee will decide whether to extend lockdown, as security services intensified raids in the immigrant districts of the capital to track down jihadists thought to be behind the bloodshed in Paris.

Investigators are working around the clock to find Abdeslam, one of the gunmen still on the loose after a coordinated wave of attacks in Paris left 130 people dead.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said authorities feared a 'Paris-style' assault 'with explosives and weapons at several locations'.

The carnage in Paris put the EU on edge over fears that ISIS extremists can move freely though the bloc's passport free Schengen zone as asylum seekers using forged Syrian passports.

On Friday, The UN Security Council granted countries permission to 'take all necessary measures' to take on ISIS after a wave of terror attacks around the world.

It came after an Al-Qaeda affiliated terror cell, run by a notorious one-eyed Algerian militant, besieged a luxury hotel in the Malian capital Bamako, killing 19.

Mali was struck a week after Paris and Beirut, where 44 people were killed in ISIS bombings, and three weeks after the militants claimed to have downed a Russian plane in Egypt killing all 224 on board. 

In Turkey, police arrested a Belgian of Moroccan origin in connection with the Paris attacks in the resort of Antalya, the site of this week's G20 summit, along with two other suspects.

MailOnline contacted the Met Police and the Foreign Office for more information of the arrests but they refused to comment. 

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