Global Independent Analytics

Terrorism Raid in Belgium Yields 16 terrorists

The beginning of a big war?

Andrew Higgins and Kimiko de Freitas-Tamura in their article for The New York Times report: the impressive security raid in the center of Brussels resulted in 16 suspects in Paris terrorist attacks seized and arrested during an operation conducted by both military and police. It was reported that military and police forces of Belgium administered at least 19 raids in southern and central regions of the city, including the central square and surrounding streets which are quite popular with tourists.

It was disclosed that the main suspect, Salah Abdeslam, the only recognized survivor, was not among those arrested in Brussels on Sunday. Moreover, no armament or ammunition was found.

Abdeslam, who is a habitant of Molenbeek district in Brussels, is a brother of a Paris suicide bomber. Latest Abdeslam has been seen in the eastern city of Liege. Eric van der Sijpt, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office of Belgium, declined to comment whether there are any other connections between extremists’ attack in Belgium and Paris.

The Sunday’s operation escalated quickly and resembled a military invasion, quite non-natural for a drugged European country: one officer was injured when a car drove into a police squad. The raids turned out to be the largest in Brussels since terrorist attacks in capitol of France and have been reconciled by a government on a meeting on the crisis when the authorities decided to sustain highest level of alert.

Belgian Prime Minister expressed his fear of upcoming terrorist attacks since Abdeslam, who is supposed to stay alive, might very well establish connections with widening number of terrorists at several areas of Brussels. Now the roads around Central Place and police offices are defended by militants.

It is yet unclear which exactly information about the possible assaults is available to the government but it was unveiled that chances are areas with large crowds might be at risk.

Jan Jambon, the interior minister of Belgium, believes that the overall threat must not be underestimated: the attacks demonstrate the much wider connection between extremists than it has been thought before, and this circumstance, in his opinion, poses a real threat. It was reported that in addition to Abdeslam, the Belgian federals are looking for 8-10 people who might also be connected to the incidents.

With Belgium, being at the highest level of emergency, the embassy in the U.S. advises people not to leave their homes and to stay away from public accumulation places. Nowadays, the schools, big stores and markets, subways, railway stations and metro systems are closed, sealed and suspended; malls are being convoyed by armed police officers: all due to a somewhat exact information possessed by administration, that the risk of similar to Paris attack is high.

After French authorities published a call for witnesses, it was revealed that the suspects of self-detonation bombers had passports issued at Belgium and have been checked for migrants in Greece on October, 3. Another suspect, Abraimi Lazez, who was seized during the latest police raid, has close ties to Abdeslam, the main suspect in terrorist attacks. Lazez’s lawyer denies all the connections between extremists and Laziez despite the fact that he grew in the neighborhood with some of those who launched attacks in Paris.He also denies any ties to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a leader of Paris attacks.

It was reported that French police officers stopped a car driven by Abdeslam, but he did not raise any suspicions and was let go. One of two men, who were in said car, claimed that Abdeslam had something under his jacket, and the sight of this frightened him.

Mohamed Abdeslam, a brother of suspected Salam, prays for his brother to turn in. “He said he had not paid attention when the attitudes of his two brothers began to change six months ago. “They started praying,” Mohamed said. “Or they stopped drinking alcohol, but it’s not a radical change. For me it’s the sign of people who wanted to chasten themselves, and to be more respectful of their religion” conclude Higgins and de Freitas-Tamura. Mohammed added that he hoped for his brother to turn back on killing victims.

 

EXPERT OPINION

Lionel Baland

At the moment, there are two Belgiums. If other places of the country are still quiet and if the people living there are only disturbed by what they learn from the media about the situation in Brussels, in the capital city of Europe and Belgium it’s the state of siege: a lot of shops, the nurseries, schools and the university are closed, the army and the police are patrolling the streets, the metro doesn’t work, the streets are empty and cultural and sport installations are not open to the people. At the same time, the police is still searching for some terrorists in different places of the country.
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