BRUSSELS—Belgian authorities arrested Salah Abdeslam on Friday in Brussels after a four-month, international manhunt, capturing the last remaining suspected assailant in the Paris terror attacks.
The arrest is a coup for the Belgian authorities, providing what could prove to be a break for investigators because not one of the nine bombers and gunmen was captured alive.
Mr. Abdeslam is alleged to have been the logistical chief of the Nov. 13 operation, who rented cars and rooms used by the terrorists—his brother among them—and drove some of them to their targets on the night of the rampage, which killed 130 people.
French police suspect he abandoned his own deadly mission that night, dumping his suicide vest in the trash, leaving his rental car and calling two friends back in Belgium to come and get him.
But it will also raise uncomfortable questions about how he evaded capture for so long while apparently moving around under the noses of investigators in the Belgian capital since the attacks, and how extensive his support network was.
On at least two occasions Mr. Abdeslam narrowly escaped the clutches of police, leaving his fingerprints behind.
But the trail appeared to have gone cold until Belgian and French investigators stumbled upon an apartment on Tuesday, where gunmen immediately opened fire on them. Belgian officials said they believe Mr. Abdeslam was there at the time.
Friday afternoon, an elite police team of at least seven officers raided a house in Molenbeek, the central Brussels district where Mr. Abdeslam and several of the dead attackers had lived, and which has been a focus of police raids since.
Police ordered him to stop when they entered the building, but he and another man tried to flee. Police then opened fire, injuring both in the legs.
Prosecutors identified the other man as Amin Choukri, but said he used many aliases. Three other people were also arrested on suspicion of sheltering the two.
French President François Hollande said the terrorist threat is far from being over. “We have to continue,” he said. “We clearly see that these terrorist groups are still armed.”
Mr. Hollande said authorities would ask for Mr. Abdeslam’s extradition to France, which Belgian officials said they expected to grant.
There is no guarantee Mr. Abdeslam will answer questions from the police. Other accused terrorists, like the man who was accused of trying to kill people on a high-speed train to Paris before being tackled by U.S. military service members, have refused to cooperate with investigators.
For victims’ families, the arrest represents a possibility that one of the perpetrators would finally face justice.
“I don’t feel any hatred or anger,” said Gregory Reibenberg, the owner of La Belle Equipe, a bistro where 19 people were killed. “The others won’t do any more harm, and now neither will he.”
While U.S., French and other officials had expressed frustration at the pace of the Belgian investigation, the arrest triggered praise from abroad, President Barack Obama was briefed on the arrest and spoke to Mr. Hollande and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.