Tense scenes have broken out between locals and security forces in Molenbeek following the arrest of Salah Abdeslam with some Muslim residents reportedly “praising” the evil Paris terrorist.
Riot police were called in to disperse the crowds who gathered in the Brussels suburb after missiles were thrown at the Belgian authorities.
Tensions were sparked after young Muslims from the troubled area started declaring their support for their terrorist “hero” Abdeslam, according to a witness.
An eyewitness posted on Twitter: “Great tension in Molenbeek with young people from the area praising their ‘hero’ Salah Abdeslam.”
Police officers were targeted by locals, many of which were young people, who threw objects including bottles, according Belgian newspaper La Libre.
Video footage of the incident shows large crowds in the road where the dramatic terror raid took place, with shouts heard before objects are thrown at officers.
Other journalists at the scene confirmed the tense scenes, with officers using police dogs to get people to leave the area.
Stones were also reportedly thrown at police, according to French media.
Police dogs are heard barking at locals shouting and hurling objects while officers attempt to push the crowd back.
Riot police armed with batons and shields move into the area, while several young men appear reluctant to leave the scene.
The presence of riot police at the scene suggests authorities were concerned about potential riots, according to some Belgian media.
The authorities had the tough task of managing the tense and nervous atmosphere among locals on the streets while a dramatic raid was still underway.
Many exasperated locals who left their houses after hearing rumours of Abdeslam’s capture gathered by the security cordons blocking off the area.
Tensions have been running high in Molenbeek since the Brussels suburb was linked to the murder of 130 people by Islamic State (ISIS) jihadis in November last year.
Several of the Paris attackers, including Abdeslam and ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, came from the troubled area which has been dubbed Europe’s ‘jihadi haven’.
The Brussels district, where some areas are up to 80 per cent Muslim, was also searched as part of anti-terror operations in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015.
In January three journalists were attacked when they tried to interview family members of Chakib Akrouh, the suicide bomber who blew himself during a police raid in Saint-Denis, Paris, after the November attacks.
The Belgian government has vowed to crack down on extremism in Molenbeek which has been thrust into the international spotlight after the atrocities in Paris.
Many Molenbeek residents, particularly young people, are suspicious and hostile towards authorities, who they believe are infringing their liberty with patrols and surveillance.
Earlier this year clashes broke out between young people and soldiers who were patrolling a metro station in Molenbeek, according to Belgian media.
Abdeslam has been captured alive by Belgian terror police after a dramatic raid in which two suspects were shot.
The three suspects arrested at the scene are all linked to the atrocities that happened in Paris on November 13 last year.
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