Global Independent Analytics

Belgian Authorities Detain Sixth Terror Suspect

Arrest of Bilal el Makhouki came same day as Mohamed Abrini, one of Europe’s most wanted, is detained

Laurence Norman for The Wall Street Journal reports: Belgian police detained a sixth person Friday in connection with the probes into the deadly attacks in Brussels and Paris, a Belgian official said, following the arrest of Mohamed Abrini, one of Europe’s most-wanted terror suspects.

Friday federal prosecutors of Brussels announced that security forces have detained five suspects, but the official on Saturday proclaimed that a sixth person, Bilal el Makhouki, was arrested. Friday’s arrests have potentially been significant progress in investigating deadly March 22 bombings in Brussels airport which resulted in at least 32 killed, as well as the Paris attacks of last November.

“According to two officials, Belgian authorities suspect Mr. Abrini was the sole surviving attacker who escaped from Belgium’s national airport during the March attacks, wearing a dark hat and a light-colored jacket. Sixteen people were killed that day by suicide bombers at the airport and an equal number at the Maelbeek subway station in central Brussels,” continues Norman.

Police officers also detained a man who allegedly is linked to the subway station attack, for the first time confirming that investigators consider that a second person was involved at that site. Brussels authorities also announced that security forces have been strengthening their measures around the Belgian city of Antwerp.

“A spokesman for Antwerp’s police didn’t confirm details of the warning but said police were given information about three nearby locations, including a shopping mall and a cinema complex,” assumes Norman. The number of soldiers and police in the area was also increased.

After the arrests, the threat level in Belgium was not changed and remains one notch from its maximum level, meaning that at the moment there is no imminent threat of further attack.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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