People walk through a market in Brussels district of Molenbeek on October 18, 2016. AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND
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One year on from the Paris massacres, the gritty district in Brussels that was the launchpad for the attacks is struggling to shed its reputation as a militant hotbed. Molenbeek, a largely immigrant neighborhood, is notorious not only for its role in the Nov. 13 atrocities in France, but also as the home to perpetrators of the deadly March 22 bombings on the Belgian capital's metro and airport.Paris ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud also hailed from Molenbeek before becoming a Daesh (ISIS) fighter in Syria and dying outside Paris in a French police raid five days after the attacks.It has even been linked to the 2001 assassination of iconic Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, the 2004 Madrid train bombings as well as other extremist attacks in Belgium, including the 2014 murder of four people at the Jewish museum in central Brussels.
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