Police kill gunman in Brussels siege linked to Paris attacks

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Brussels Shooting

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- Belgian police on Tuesday killed a gunman in a raid on a Brussels apartment linked to Islamist militants involved in November's Paris attacks, and two others were on the run, state broadcaster RTBF reported.

READ MORE: Police killings under new scrutiny in latest report

Belgium's federal prosecutor said earlier one or more suspects had barricaded themselves into an apartment after police had come under heavy weapon fire through a door when carrying out the raid.

Belgian media said four police officers were wounded.

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Police kill gunman in Brussels siege linked to Paris attacks
BRUSSELS, March 15, 2016-- Police officers guard at a crossroad on the site of a shooting in Forest, Brussels, Belgium, March 15, 2016. A police officer was injured on Tuesday afternoon in a shootout during a raid on a property in Brussels, reportedly linked to the Paris terror attacks. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan via Getty Images)
Belgian police forces stand near a barrier in close security perimeter near the apartment where shots were fired in the southern Forest district of Brussels on March 15, 2016 during a major Belgian-French anti-terror operation in Brussels linked to the Paris attacks. Belgian and French police launched a huge manhunt for two suspects in Brussels after gunmen opened fire. Five Belgium police officers were wounded and a suspect was shot dead. / AFP / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
Belgian police forces stand behing a close security perimeter near the apartment where shots were fired in the southern Forest district of Brussels on March 15, 2016 during a major Belgian-French anti-terror operation in Brussels linked to the Paris attacks. Belgian and French police launched a huge manhunt for two suspects in Brussels after gunmen opened fire. Five Belgium police officers were wounded and a suspect was shot dead. / AFP / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
Policemen escort inhabitants as they get out of the shops where they were forced to stay near the site where shots were fired in the southern Forest district of Brussels on March 15, 2016 during a major Belgian-French anti-terror operation in Brussels linked to the Paris attacks. Belgian and French police launched a huge manhunt for two suspects in Brussels after gunmen opened fire. Five Belgium police officers were wounded and a suspect was shot dead. / AFP / Belga / NICOLAS MAETERLINCK / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers secure an area during an apartment raid in Brussels on Tuesday March 15, 2016. Belgian police launched an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks in a Brussels neighborhood on Tuesday. A police official, who requested anonymity because the operation was still ongoing, said the exact circumstances of the incident were still unclear, and that several police officers were injured. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse)
Police secure an area after an apartment raid in Brussels on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Belgian police launched an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks in a Brussels neighborhood on Tuesday. A police official, who requested anonymity because the operation was still ongoing, said the exact circumstances of the incident were still unclear, and that several police officers were injured. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse)
Police secure an area after an apartment raid in Brussels on Tuesday March 15, 2016. Belgian police launched an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks in a Brussels neighborhood on Tuesday. A police official, who requested anonymity because the operation was still ongoing, said the exact circumstances of the incident were still unclear, and that several police officers were injured. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
People cross the road as police secure the area in Brussels Tuesday March 15, 2016, after police launched an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks in a Brussels neighborhood and three police officers were slightly injured when shots were fired, officials said. A police official, who requested anonymity because the operation was still ongoing, said the exact circumstances of the incident were still unclear, or whether the police officers were struck by bullets or injured in another way. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse)
Armed police secure an area in Brussels Tuesday March 15, 2016, after police launched an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks in a Brussels neighborhood and three police officers were slightly injured when shots were fired, officials said. A police official, who requested anonymity because the operation was still ongoing, said the exact circumstances of the incident were still unclear, or whether the police officers were struck by bullets or injured in another way. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse)
Police secure the area in Brussels Tuesday March 15, 2016, after police launched an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks in a Brussels neighborhood and three police officers were slightly injured when shots were fired, officials said. A police official, who requested anonymity because the operation was still ongoing, said the exact circumstances of the incident were still unclear, or whether the police officers were struck by bullets or injured in another way. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse)
Police officers speak to each other during an apartment raid in Brussels on Tuesday March 15, 2016. Belgian police launched an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks in a Brussels neighborhood on Tuesday. A police official, who requested anonymity because the operation was still ongoing, said the exact circumstances of the incident were still unclear, and that several police officers were injured. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse)
Police officers stand at the site of a shooting on Dries-Driesstraat at Forest-Vorst in Brussels on March 15, 2016. Shots were fired on March 15 at Belgian police in the capital Brussels as they carried out an operation linked to the Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors told / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer walks at the site of a shooting in the Dries-Driesstraat street on March 15, 2016 at Forest-Vorst in Brussels. Shots were fired on March 15 at Belgian police in the capital Brussels as they carried out an operation linked to the Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors told. / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer runs in the street near the site of a shooting on Dries-Driesstraat at Forest-Vorst in Brussels on March 15, 2016. Shots were fired on March 15 at Belgian police in the capital Brussels as they carried out an operation linked to the Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors told / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers stand at the site of a shooting on Dries-Driesstraat at Forest-Vorst in Brussels on March 15, 2016. Shots were fired on March 15 at Belgian police in the capital Brussels as they carried out an operation linked to the Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors told / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer holding his gun stands guard on the site of a shooting in the rue du Dries-Driesstraat in Brussels, on March 15, 2016. The shooting took place during searches linked to the Paris terrorist attacks. Two members of federal police where injured in the operation and police is still searching for the shooter. / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer cordons off the area as people gather near the site of a shooting on Dries-Driesstraat at Forest-Vorst in Brussels on March 15, 2016. Shots were fired on March 15 at Belgian police in the capital Brussels as they carried out an operation linked to the Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors said. The raid comes as Belgian police continue their hunt for Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the November attacks which killed 130 people, who comes from Brussels. / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather on a street corner near a police car near the site of a shooting on Dries-Driesstraat at Forest-Vorst in Brussels on March 15, 2016. Shots were fired on March 15 at Belgian police in the capital Brussels as they carried out an operation linked to the Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors said. The raid comes as Belgian police continue their hunt for Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the November attacks which killed 130 people, who comes from Brussels. / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer stands near the site of a shooting on Dries-Driesstraat at Forest-Vorst in Brussels on March 15, 2016. Shots were fired on March 15 at Belgian police in the capital Brussels as they carried out an operation linked to the Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors said. The raid comes as Belgian police continue their hunt for Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the November attacks which killed 130 people, who comes from Brussels. / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman stands next to a policeman at the entrance of a security perimeter set on the scene where shots fired at Belgian police? on March 15, 2016 in Brussels. The shots were fired as Belgian police carried out an operation linked to the Paris attacks, as Belgian police continue their hunt for Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the November attacks which killed 130 people, who comes from Brussels. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers walk in the street near the site of a shooting on Dries-Driesstraat at Forest-Vorst in Brussels on March 15, 2016. Shots were fired on March 15 at Belgian police in the capital Brussels as they carried out an operation linked to the Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors told / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
In this image taken from video a Belgium police officer stands at a doorway in Brussels Tuesday March 15, 2016. Belgian police launched an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks in a Brussels neighborhood on Tuesday and three police officers were slightly injured when shots were fired, officials said. A police official, who requested anonymity because the operation was still ongoing, said the exact circumstances of the incident were still unclear, or whether the police officers were struck by bullets or injured in another way. (AP Photo)
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Belgian daily DH said one suspect was shot dead after being spotted from a police helicopter in a nearby garden.

Phone calls made by Reuters seeking comment from police and prosecutors were not answered.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said French police took part in the raid in the Belgian capital. Streets around the house in a southern section of the city were sealed off by police, Reuters journalists at the scene said.

"This operation is connected to the Paris attacks," a spokesman for Belgium's federal prosecutor said.

Reuters journalists heard gunshots as police commandos crowded into the street where the raid unfolded.

Investigators believe much of the planning and preparation for the Nov. 13 bombing and shooting rampage in Paris that killed 130 people were carried out by young French and Belgian nationals, some of whom fought in Syria for Islamic State.

The area around Tuesday's raid, near a car factory and a major north-south railway linking Paris and Amsterdam, was sealed off, and a police helicopter buzzed overhead.

Police told residents to stay indoors and schools and kindergartens close to the scene of the shootings were in lockdown, residents said.

Belgian security forces have been actively hunting suspects and associates of the militants involved in the attacks in Paris. Some of the attackers came from Brussels.

One of the prime suspects, 26-year-old Brussels-based Frenchman Salah Abdeslam, is still on the run. He left Paris shortly after his brother blew himself up in the attacks. Belgian authorities are holding 10 people who have been arrested in the months since the attacks, mostly for helping Abdeslam.

RTBF quoted French police sources as saying Abdeslam had not been the target of Tuesday's raid.

Brussels, headquarters of the European Union as well as Western military alliance NATO, was locked down for days after the Paris attacks for fear of a major incident there. Brussels has maintained a high state of security alert since then, with military patrols a regular sight.

Soldiers were on streets in central Brussels on Tuesday as the operation continued.

Belgium, with a Muslim population of about 5 percent among its 11 million people, has the highest rate in Europe of citizens joining Islamist militants in Syria.

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