Abdeslam will fight extradition to France

The fugitive was arrested on Friday after a five month manhunt

Abdeslam will fight extradition to France

File photo

Updated 18.45:

The main suspect in last year's deadly Paris terror attacks had apparently planned to launch a suicide bombing, but changed his mind.

Salah Abdeslam's told Belgian authorities he abandoned his suicide vest last November before the shootings and bombings started.

Abdeslam is co-operating with Belgian police but will fight extradition to France, his lawyer says.

The 26-year-old has been formally charged in connection with the terror attacks in November that left 130 people dead, Sven Mary told reporters at the federal police headquarters in Brussels. Prosecutors say he has been charged with "terrorist murder".

Abdeslam fled Paris immediately after the attacks, making his way back to the Belgian capital, where he was finally tracked down and arrested on Friday during a major police operation in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.

Speaking shortly after he was apprehended, French President Francois Hollande said he wanted Abdeslam to be transferred to France as quickly as possible.

Abdeslam suffered leg injuries before he was arrested, and required hospital treatment. He has since been discharged and has faced questioning from the authorities.

Television footage from Friday's operation showed armed security forces dragging a man wearing a hooded top out of a building and to a car.

At least 10 shots were heard, grenades launched and police helicopters hovered overhead, while fire engines waited in the street.

Footage showed masked, black-clad security forces training their weapons towards upper windows of an apartment block.

White smoke could be seen rising above the building, as police with snarling dogs drove crowds in the streets back away from the scene.

About three hours after Abdeslam's arrest, two blasts were heard, before a further suspect - who was still holed up - was detained.

In all, Abdeslam was one of five people arrested in the series of raids, which came after a tip-off to police.

As the questioning of Abdeslam continues, the international police agency Interpol is calling on countries to be vigilant at their borders, warning that accomplices of the 26-year-old could try to flee after his capture.

In a statement, Interpol recommended closer checks, especially for stolen passports. Many of the Paris attackers and accomplices travelled using falsified or stolen passports.