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Europe

Abdeslam capture: France holds Defence Council meeting

media French President François Hollande chaired a meeting of France's Defence Council. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

Following the arrest of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam, French President François Hollande chaired a meeting of France's Defence Council on Saturday morning. Abdeslam and an accomplice also wounded in the raid have been moved from a brussels hospital and are likely to be questioned by Belgian police before extradition to France.

Saturday's meeting at the Elysée presidential palace was to discuss the operations that led to Abdeslam's capture in Brussels Friday and the "struggle against terrorist networks in France and Europe", officials said.

On Friday, after the arrest was announced, Hollande declared that "the battle is not yet over" and called on Belgium to extradite Abdeslam to France "as quickly as possible".

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon described the request as "normal".

Security chiefs, including military Chief-of-Staff Pierre de Villiers attended the Defence Council meeting, along with Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas and Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Hollande is to meet representatives families of the victims of the 13 November Paris attacks, in which 130 people died and 350 were injured, on Monday, a meeting that has become "even more opportune" thanks to the arrest, officials say.

Also on Saturday morning, Abdeslam, 26, was taken out of Brussels's Saint-Pierre hospital, where he had been treated for a minor injury to his leg, along with an accomplice known by two false names, Amine Choukri and Monir Ahmed Alaaj, who was arrested in the same raid.

To read our coverage of the November Paris attacks and their aftermath click here

Abdeslam is known to have rented cars and lodgings for the Paris attackers and to have driven three suicide bombers the Stade de France football stadium in Saint Denis.

He is believed to have then dumped a suicide vest and called friends in Brussels, where he lived and ran a bar, to help him go to ground, subsequently avoiding detection at three police roadblocks on the way to the Belgian capital.

He has since been on the run for four months.

The man known as Amine Choukri was stopped by police in Abdeslam's company in Germany in October, before the attacks, and his fingerprints, which were taken then, have been found in a house used by the plotters in southern Belgium.

Abdeslam's brother, Brahim, who blew himself up during the attacks, was buried discreetly in a Brussels cemetery on Thursday.

The only person involved in the attacks known to still be on the run is Mohamed Abrini, who was filmed with Abdeslam two days before the attacks at a petrol station on a motorway close to Paris.

Belgian police have identified a man killed in a raid linked to the inquiry on Tuesday as Algerian national Mohamed Belkaid, 30, who was living in Belgium.

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