“We had reason to believe Salah Abdeslam had been in that house, so we carried out a search on Nov. 16 at 5 a.m., but he was not there,” he said.

Local media on Wednesday quoted sources close to the investigation saying that police did find evidence after the search that Mr. Abdeslam had been in the house, suggesting a near miss by Belgian authorities. The federal prosecutor’s office would neither confirm nor deny the information…

The law banning night raids goes back to 1969, when civil rights gained ground in Belgium, including on the protection of property. Belgian police earlier this year made a call for 24 hour raids in the aftermath of the January terrorist attack on a Paris satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Back then, Belgian intelligence and police managed to thwart an attack in the Belgian town of Verviers, but the mastermind of the plot, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, remained at large. The Belgian national of Moroccan origin, who was believed to be hiding in Greece, returned to carry out the Paris attacks with the help of Mr. Abdeslam and his brother, all neighborhood friends from Molenbeek. Mr. Abaaoud was killed in a French police operation in Paris, five days after the attacks.