Belgium – On March 22, 2016, terrorists attacked two locations in Brussels, Belgium. The two attacks occurred at near similar times and consisted of suicide attacks. There were two detonations of explosive devices inside Belgium’s Zaventem airport, and one device was detonated in a rail carriage at the Molenbeek metro station. There were thought to be initially four people involved in the terrorist attack and both detonations occurred at approximately 8:00AM local time. Another explosive device was found later and deactivated by explosive experts. Inside the airport one explosion took place near Brussels Airlines while the other bomb detonated near the reception of American Airlines. The toll on human personnel in total was 35 fatally injured with 250 injured, with a chance that the fatalities could rise dependent on the severity of their injuries. With the Zaventem attack, three terrorists were involved. There were two who detonated the devices and were initially named by Belgian media as the brothers Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui, who were known to police for their involvement in organized crime. Later it became clear that three personnel were Ibrahim El-Bakraoui, Najim Laachraoui who were the bombers and the third individual was Faycal Cheffou. The third terrorist, Cheffou, left the area without detonating a device Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure said that Khalid el-Bakraoui was being sought for terrorist activities while Brahim was reportedly on the run after a sentence for other criminal activity. RTBF said the brothers were known to police and had criminal records. The broadcaster said that Khalid el-Bakraoui had used a false name to rent the flat in the Forest area of the Belgian capital where police killed a gunman, Salah Abdeslam, in a shootout on March 18, 2016. It was during that raid that police found a fingerprint in the apartment of Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris terror attacks of November 13, 2015. Faycal Cheffou, the third bombing suspect who fled the airport on the March 22, was later caught on March 24, 2016 and charged with terrorist offences on March 26, 2016. However, on March 28, 2016 the Belgium authorities released Cheffou because of the lack of evidence connecting him to the terrorist attack. There remain possibly two people who the police believe accompanied terrorists in both attacks. Two of the terrorists involved in the airport attack appear in CCTV footage as being dressed the same. Both wore dark tops and light trousers. On their hand they wore a single black glove which may have hidden the detonation device for the explosive devices. The third man, Cheffou who is thought to be the bomb maker, was dressed differently but he could also have been a supporter or a handler. His attire was dark trousers with a light coloured shirt and jacket. He was the only one of the three to wear a hat. Khalid el-Bakraoui is thought to be the terrorist who detonated the device in the train carriage in the Maelbeek metro attack. In the case of both attacks the explosive devices were thought to be constructed of explosive material, nails, bolts and glass objects and placed into a suitcase to act as shrapnel. Some witnesses reported hearing Arabic voices and gun shots and there were reports that two AK47 weapons were found in the airport lounge but this information had not been confirmed by the authorities at the moment. On the evening of March 22, 2016 Belgian authorities raided an apartment at 4 Max Roos Street in Schaerbeek. A number of chemicals were found along which are compatible with explosive devices that were used in the November 2015 Paris attack and with the March 2016 Brussels attack. A nail bomb was recovered along with nails and bolts which would have made the explosive device more deadly with the shrapnel giving a larger killing area. A IS flag was also found in the property. The Islamic State, Da’esh, later claimed the attack and stated there would be more to come.
Belgium – Belgian police have arrested a man in a raid in the capital Brussels in connection with recent terror attacks in the city. The man, carrying a backpack, was shot in the leg in Schaerbeek district after refusing to obey police orders, media said on the 25 Mar 16. Explosions were also heard. Ten other suspects have been held in Belgium, Germany and France. Police are trying to prevent further attacks after the 22 Mar 16 Brussels bombings. An investigation is continuing into the bombings, which killed 31 people and have been linked to Nov 15 Paris attacks. The Belgian prosecutor has named another of the suicide bombers at Brussels airport as Najim Laachraoui. So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it carried out both sets of attacks. An area near Schaerbeek's Meiser square was sealed off by heavily armed police and military vehicles on the 25 mar 16. At least three explosions were reported. Bomb disposal personnel and robots were at the scene. Schaerbeek is one of the districts where arrests were carried out on the 24 Mar 16. French police sources say the latest raid was also linked to Thursday evening's (24 mar) operation in a Paris suburb during which another attack was apparently foiled.
Belgium – Support for the notorious right-wing Flemish Populist Party Vlaams Belang has grown substantially in aftermath of the atrocities in the Belgian capital it was reported on the 26 Mar 16. The party’s number of likes on Facebook has jumped by more than three thousand percent compared to one week ago, according to data published by Facebook. Such a massive surge in popularity is particularly significant in Belgium, which has only 11 million habitants. Vlaams Belang, whose main goal is independence for Flanders - Belgium’s Dutch-speaking northern region - also has a tough stance on immigration and the deportation of non-nationals. A swing towards far-right parties was also seen in France in the aftermath of the Paris attacks in November last year, with the Front National (FN) gaining nearly seven million votes in recent regional elections. Tough words about clamping down on extremism and immigration from the leader of Vlaams Belang, Tom Van Grieken, are likely to strike a chord with many conservative voters in an increasingly anxious public as emotions remain raw. Mr Grieken said his party’s Facebook page gained 10,000 new likes overnight after the Brussels attacks and some of his posts warning of the dangers of radical Islam had been shared more than four million times. The 29-year-old, who attended a march organised by the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant group Pegida in January, said “solidarity alone is not enough” and called for a “three-tier system of concrete measures” to clamp down on terrorism. Like FN leader Marine Le Pen, Mr Grieken campaigns on an anti-immigration platform and has called for “a watertight border policy” as well as the “preventative detention of known Islamic extremists”. Mr Grieken has also said Belgium’s ‘Law-Lejeune’, which allows the early release of inmates for good behaviour, should be dissolved immediately. His comments have won the right-wing leader a massive surge in support after the Brussels attacks, with his Facebook page’s number of likes jumping by 916 per cent. Vlaams Belang was created in 2004 after its predecessor Vlaams Blok lost state funding and access to television after Belgium’s highest court ruled it was guilty of violating anti-racism legislation. Voorpost, a Flemish nationalist ‘White Power’ group, has also experienced a surge in support following the Brussels attacks, according to its leader Bart Vanpachtenbeke. Mr Vanpachtenbeke said a “huge number of people” had started supporting the far-right group online and the number of new members had more than doubled since the bombings in the Belgian capital. A statement after the Brussels attacks on Voorpost’s website read: “The guilty of these attacks are undoubtedly Muslim fundamentalists, but even more guilty is the political establishment which has for several decades and continues to conduct a policy of fear concerning migration, regulation and open borders and the regular media with subjective dissipation of news and Muslim pampering. “The relaxed policy and subjective journalism in Flanders have created a breeding ground for radical Islam which considers itself off-limits and has ensured that radical Islam has become anchored in our cities and can barely be controlled.” Voorpost, meaning ‘outpost’ in Dutch, is predominantly a Flemish nationalist organisation that wants to re-join Flanders with the Netherlands, Afrikaner South Africa and Dutch-speaking areas of Germany. The far-right group, which is avowedly against immigration, the European Union (EU) and “Islamisation”, was founded by a member of Vlaams Blok in 1976. Muslims account for eight per cent of the Belgian population and 25 per cent in Brussels. Mr Vanpachtenbeke, who promised “drastic action” and “a lot of noise” after the Brussels attacks, said: "I think there are dark times coming. We can't give any information, but we are planning a lot of new protests.” Voorpost is closely monitored by Belgian security services who believe the nationalist group are at risk of committing violence. However, the numbers are “far smaller” than radical extremists, according to Vidhya Ramalingham, a fellow at the German Institute on Radicalisation and De-radicalisation Studies. Belgium has not experienced the same unrest between locals and immigrants as seen in Germany, Finland and Sweden - but tensions are rising as the country continues to welcome refugees arriving in Europe.
Belgium – A man known as Faycal C, the only person arrested and charged with involvement in the Brussels attacks was released for lack of evidence. Belgian media have given the man's full name as Faycal Cheffou. Police have released CCTV footage in their efforts to identify a third suspect in last Tuesday's bomb attacks on a Brussels airport. Attacks on the airport and the city's metro system killed 35 people and injured more than 300. The attacks were claimed by the so-called Islamic State militant group. A man referred to officially as Facyal C was released on 28 Mar 16 after being arrested on 24 Mar 16 in Brussels and charged with "participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist murders and attempted terrorist murders".
Others detained on suspicion of terrorist activity include
Salah Abdeslam - arrested on 18 March in the Molenbeek district of Brussels. Key suspect in the Paris attacks last November. Charged with "terrorist murder"
'Amine Choukri' - arrested on 18 March with Abdeslam, real name not yet known. Also used the alias Monir Ahmed Alaaj. Documented by German police near Ulm in a car with Abdeslam last October. Charged with "terrorist murder" over the Paris attacks
Rabah N - arrested on 25 March and charged with participating in terrorist activities in relation to a foiled plot to attack Paris
Abderamane A - shot in the leg and arrested on 25 March at a tram stop in the Schaerbeek area of Brussels. Charged in relation to the foiled plot to attack Paris. Jailed for seven years in France in 2005 and banned from entering France for life aiding in the assassination of Afghan commander Ahmed Shah Massoud in 2001.
Aboubakar A - arrested on 24 March in a car in Brussels, charged with participating in terrorist activities
Yassine A, Mohamed B and Aboubaker O - arrested during raids on 27 March and charged with belonging to a terrorist group
Of the 35 victims, seven have still to be identified, the country's crisis centre said on Monday (in French).
At least 12 of the victims are foreign nationals from the US, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, the UK, Italy and China, it said earlier.
The death toll does not include three attackers, two of whom blew themselves up at the airport and one in the metro.
France – Four suspected terrorists were arrested in Paris on the 16 Mar 16 after police claimed they were plotting an 'imminent attack' on the French capital. Three men and one woman were captured in the siege on the 18th arrondissement of the French capital and the nearby, rundown suburb of Saint Denis. An AK-47 rifle, and electronic equipment including a USB stick and computer files, were found during the dawn raid. French intelligence officers have been questioning the suspects at their headquarters in the city tonight. Police later said the four suspects had been under surveillance on suspicion of a 'possible' attack, with one source adding: 'You can't at this stage talk about a plan of imminent attack.' The arrests were carried out at dawn in two Paris districts, as well as Saint Denis, the scene of a massive raid after the November 13 Paris attacks. TF1 reported that two French brothers of Turkish origin - identified as Aytac and Ercan B - were among the suspects. Another Frenchman Youssef E., 28 has been identified as a suspect. TF1 said he was a known Islamist and had already been sentenced to five years in prison in March 2014 after being arrested with two others as they tried to leave France to fight in Syria. He was released from prison in Oct 15 and had been under house arrest since 29 Feb 16. There are reports that his companion was also arrested in the dawn raid. It comes a day after a man suspected of having links to the Paris massacre in November was gunned down in a Brussels after a shoot-out with police.
France – Salah Abdeslam, the most wanted suspect for the Paris attacks, has been arrested in a shootout with heavily-armed police in the Belgian capital after eluding capture for months. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and French President Francois Hollande confirmed the arrest on the 18 Mar 16 at a press conference in Brussels. "It was a success against terrorism," said Michel, as he congratulated the security forces who carried out the raid. France's Hollande said "police were confronted with armed resistance" from the suspects during the raid, adding that the fight against "terrorism" was far from over. "Though this arrest was an important step, it is not the final result. There will be further arrests. We know the network is extensive in Belgium, France and other countries," he said. "What we need to do is arrest all of those who allowed, organised and facilitated these attacks [in Paris]. We have realised, without going into details, they are far more numerous than we thought." Hollande added that he had "no doubt that the [French] judicial authorities will request an extradition". The four-month manhunt for 26-year-old Abdeslam came to an end in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek with the suspect shot in the leg, according to Ahmed El Khannous, the neighbourhood's deputy mayor. Four other people, including members of a family who harboured Abdeslam, were also arrested, said Belgian federal prosecutor Eric van der Sypt. He confirmed that Abdeslam was slightly injured during the raid and had been transferred to hospital. Footage showed heavily-armed police dragging a man whose face was covered by a white hood into the street and bundling him into the back of a waiting unmarked car. It was not clear from the pictures if the man was Abdeslam. Earlier, the Belgian federal prosecutor's office said Abdeslam's fingerprints had been found in a separate raid this week. His prints were discovered in an apartment in the neighbourhood of Forest, in south Brussels, after that raid on the 15 Mar 16. Local media said the evidence showed it was "more than likely" that Abdeslam was one of two people who escaped had escaped the operation, in which one gunman was shot dead by a police sniper. The suspect killed was named as 35-year-old Algerian, Mohamed Belkaid. Investigators said that, when they later entered the flat, they found a book on Salafism and a Kalashnikov rifle next to Belkaid's body. They also discovered a flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group in the flat, as well as a large amount of ammunition. No explosives were found, the prosecutor said. Abdeslam, a French national, was born in Brussels and once lived in the city. Police believe he was directly involved in the November 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded, as armed men and suicide bombers targeted the Stade de France stadium, the Bataclan concert hall, cafes and bars. He is suspected of renting the car that delivered attackers to the Bataclan concert hall where more than 80 people were killed. He fled the city after the attacks, which were claimed by ISIL. Hours later, he was stopped and questioned by police at the French-Belgian border before he was allowed through. Several of the suspected attackers had links to neighbouring Belgium. Abdeslam's older brother was among the suicide bombers who killed themselves during the rampage. The younger Abdeslam was driven back to Brussels from Paris hours later.
Who is Salah Abdeslam
Born in Brussels, Salah Abdeslam is a 26-year-old French national and the brother of 31-year-old Brahim Abdeslam who blew himself up on November 13 in the Comptoir Voltaire restaurant. He was at one point suspected of having joined his older sibling in targeting restaurants and bars during the Paris attacks, but his exact role in the violence has yet to be determined. Investigators know that he was in Paris and believe that he at the very least offered logistical support to the attackers. They are considering whether he planned to carry out his own attack, but backed out. After four months on the run, he was arrested in Belgium on March 18.
Paris Attack Cell Stretched From Europe to Syria and Back
Police, prosecutors, friends, families and acquaintances have unveiled details about the men who carried out the 13 Nov 15 attacks in Paris. Altogether, authorities say that three teams participated in the bloody assault. Here is a look at what we know about the suspects:
— SALAH ABDESLAM, 26
Abdeslam's brother blew himself up outside the cafe Comptoir Voltaire. His own exact role that night is unknown. The Paris prosecutor said he is believed to have dropped off the stadium bombers, abandoned his car in northern Paris and then shed a suicide vest in southern Paris.
Hours after he was linked to the attacks, Abdeslam and two travellers were stopped in their car near the border between France and Belgium but were set free. Salah's other brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, said all three siblings grew up in Belgium and seemingly were content with life in the West. "We are an open-minded family. We never had any problem with justice," he said.
Abdeslam was captured Friday in Molenbeek, where he grew up.
A group of gunmen with automatic weapons opened fire on bars and restaurants, driving through central Paris in a black getaway car. They included:
— ABDELHAMID ABAAOUD, 28
Belgian-born Abaaoud has been identified as the architect of the Paris attacks and is believed to have been among the squad of gunmen who attacked bars and restaurants that night.
He was also suspected of involvement in several thwarted attacks this year, including an attempted attack on a high-speed train from Belgium to Paris when three Americans tackled a heavily armed man and one on a church in the Parisian suburb of Villejuif. His ties to many of the attackers date to his days in the Moleenbeek neighborhood of Brussels where he grew up. He bragged that he was able to slip in and out of Europe undetected.
Abaaoud died during a Nov. 18 police raid on an apartment near the Stade de France.
— BRAHIM ABDESLAM, 31
Abdeslam, the older brother of Salah Abdeslam, blew himself up outside the cafe and is also believed to have been part of the team that attacked bars and restaurants.
His former lawyer, Olivier Martins, said Abdeslam had done a short prison term in Belgium for stealing identity cards. A judge freed him after a month in 2010 because he was believed to have turned his life around. Abdeslam's restaurant was ordered shut down on Nov. 4 because of drug dealing.
"In my opinion, he was someone who was very, very fragile and very easily influenced," the lawyer said.
— CHAKIB AKROUH, 25
Akrouh, a Belgian Moroccan, was identified thanks to DNA provided from his mother. He died along with Abaaoud in the Nov. 18 police raid in Saint-Denis. Belgian media reported that he, like so many of the others, had ties to the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels.
Three French nationals have been identified as targeting concert-goers at the Bataclan music venue. Two of them blew themselves up and one was shot by police. They were:
— ISMAEL OMAR MOSTEFAI, 29
Police say Mostefai blew himself up at the theater. Tall, quiet and conservatively dressed, Mostefai appears to have aroused little suspicion at the housing block he shared with his family in the French cathedral city of Chartres or at the nearby Anoussra Mosque. Arnauld Froissart, a 34-year-old bank employee who lives in the area, said Mostefai was "very discreet" and his family was "very nice."
— SAMY AMIMOUR, 28
The Frenchman, a former public bus driver, was charged in a terrorism investigation in 2012. He had been placed under judicial supervision but dropped off the radar and was the subject of an international arrest warrant.
Amimour's father traveled to Islamic State-held territory in June 2014 in an effort to convince his son to leave Syria but was rebuffed, according to Le Monde newspaper. "He was with another guy, who never left us alone," the father said.
— FOUED MOHAMED-AGGAD, 23
Mohamed-Aggad was among a group of about a dozen young men who left the eastern city of Strasbourg for Syria at the end of 2013. His brother and six others returned and are now facing terrorism charges. But Mohamed-Aggad remained with the Islamic State group, telling his family he expected to carry out a suicide bombing in Iraq, according to his brother's lawyer.
Mohamed-Aggad's mother received a text message in English saying her son had died Nov. 13, said the lawyer, Francoise Cotta. The mother submitted a DNA sample allowing investigators to determine her son was the third Bataclan attacker.
Authorities say three suicide bombers had intended to attack the Stade de France, but they were unable to get into the stadium and killed just one bystander when they detonated their vests nearby. Only one of the thee has been fully identified:
— BILAL HADFI, 20
Hadfi, a French citizen who lived in Belgium, was identified as one of the three stadium bombers and the youngest of the attackers. "I am afraid of getting an SMS," his mother told the Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique 10 days before the attacks. She said her son went to Syria in February without informing his family. "He knew it was a trip without a return," she said.
— The other two suicide attackers had Syrian passports believed to be fake. One was identified in the document as Ahmad al-Mohammad and described as a 25-year-old from the rebel-held Syrian city Idlib. Greece said the two men passed through their border in October. More than a week after the attacks, authorities posted a photo of the man on Twitter as part of a public appeal to help identify him.
— MOHAMED ABRINI, 30
Abrini, a petty criminal from the Molenbeek neighborhood, was spotted twice with Salah Abdeslam in the days before the attacks. He has not been seen since and is being sought as a suspect.
— SAMIR BOUZID and SOUFIANE KAYAL
Two men using fake ID's with these names were stopped Sept. 9 driving with Salah Abdeslam from Budapest. Kayal was also named as the renter of a house searched on Nov. 26. Bouzid's fake ID card was used to wire 750 euros ($815) to Hasna Ait Boulahcen on Nov. 17, the day she met up with her cousin Abbaoud and found him a place to stay. Police in Belgium say Mohamed Belkaid, who was shot to death this week by a police sniper and may have been holed up with Abdeslam in the apartment where he died, is "most probably" the person who used the Bouzid ID.
— HASNA AIT BOULAHCEN, 26
Authorities say Aitboulahcen, Abaaoud's cousin on their mothers' side, died in the police raid on the apartment where Abaaoud was holed up. Born in the Paris suburb of Clichy-la-Garenne, Aitboulahcen was under surveillance because her name came up in a drug-trafficking case, but her ties to Abbaoud initially came as a surprise.
France – French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said on the 19 Mar 16 that Belgium will hand over top Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to France in no more than three months. “The definitive decision... should be taken within 60 days of his arrest or 90 days if he lodges an appeal,” Urvoas said in a statement. An investigating judge has formally charged Abdeslam with “participation in terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation,” a Belgian prosecutor’s statement said. “He is cooperating with Belgian justice,” the suspect’s lawyer, Sven Mary, told reporters in Brussels. Abdeslam and an accomplice left the Brussels hospital where they were treated overnight for gunshot wounds sustained during their arrest, the city mayor said. “The two terrorist suspects have left the Saint-Pierre hospital,” Yvan Mayeur wrote on Twitter, without saying where they were taken. Abdeslam, 26, and four other suspects were arrested on the 18 Mar 16 in the gritty Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek. During the raid, he was lightly wounded in the leg, prosecutors said. French President Francois Hollande, in Brussels for an EU summit, hailed the arrests saying Paris would request Abdeslam’s extradition from Belgium “as rapidly as possible.” A man using false papers in the names of Amine Choukri and Monir Ahmed Alaaj was also charged with terrorist murder. As Choukri, he was documented by German police at Ulm in October when he was stopped in a car with Abdeslam. A third man in the house was charged with belonging to a terrorist organization and he and a woman were charged with concealing criminals. Police had sought Abdeslam since he called two acquaintances in Belgium in a panic hours after the attacks to have them come collect him and bring him home. Suspected to be as far away as Syria, it seems he was in Brussels all or most of the time. Security agencies’ difficulties in penetrating some Muslim communities, particularly in pursuit of Belgium's unusually high number of citizens fighting in Syria, has been a key factor in the inquiry, along with arms dealing in Brussels. Brahim Abdeslam blew himself up during the Paris attacks and was buried discreetly on the 17 Mar 16 in a Brussels cemetery. The arrests leave only one known suspect still on the run, Mohamed Abrini, who was filmed with Abdeslam two days before the attacks at a petrol station on a motorway close to Paris.
Greece – Greek police arrested six people on the 26 Mar 16 in an operation to break up a gang which counterfeited documents for asylum seekers on a Greek island, the coastguard said. The criminal group was active on the island of Kos, the coastguard said in a statement, adding that the authorities seized computers, cameras and a large number of fake documents and mobile phones from several houses on the island. About one million refugees and migrants arrived to Greece last year, fleeing conflict in the Middle East and beyond and seeking to reach wealthier Western European countries. The European Union and Turkey have agreed to stop the flow of migrants to Europe in return for political and financial concessions for Ankara, sealing off the main route by which people poured across the Aegean islands, including Kos. About 50,000 refugees and migrants were in Greece on the 26 Mar waiting for a border to open.
Holland/France – Dutch anti-terrorism police on the 27 Mar 16 arrested a 32-year-old man in Rotterdam on suspicion of preparing an attack on France and also detained three other people, national prosecutors said. “French authorities on the 25 Mar 16 requested the arrest of the French citizen, who had been identified in a terrorism investigation,” prosecutors said in a statement. He was suspected of “involvement in preparing a terrorist attack”. The arrests were carried out by a specialized anti-terrorism police squad, and the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD and prosecutors also took part in the operation, prosecutors said. Two of the others detained were described as aged 43 and 47 and “having an Algerian background,” while the third had not yet been identified. Police were searching two addresses in western Rotterdam associated with the suspect, and people living in nearby buildings had been evacuated as a precautionary measure, the prosecutors said. The suspect will be extradited to France as quickly as possible, they said. The arrests came with Europe on heightened alert after the 23 Mar 16 suicide bomb attacks at Brussels Airport and on a rush-hour metro train that killed 31 people, including three attackers, and injured hundreds more. ISIS has claimed responsibility.
Italy – On the 27 Mar 16 it was reported that armed Italian police arrested an Algerian man wanted by Belgium over fake ID documents used by the Paris and Brussels terrorists. The man is Djamal Eddine Ouali, 40, and was detained under a European arrest warrant in the southern Italian region of Salerno. He is suspected of providing a forged Belgian ID card for Najim Laachraoui, one of the suicide bombers who attacked Brussels airport on the 22 Mar 16. Ouali was arrested in the south-western town of Bellizzi as part of a joint operation between anti-terrorist forces and Rome's special operations police. He was suspected of being part of a criminal network that produced fake documents for illegal immigration, the AGI news agency reported. The alleged accomplice of the Brussels attackers would be extradited to Belgium in the coming days, it added. Suspicions were raised after local immigration officials checked Ouali's residency permit. Police had been searching for a man with the same name and belonging to the same organisation since January 6. Hundreds of digital photographs were then seized from a counterfeiter's workshop, including three of those who planned the deadly attacks in Paris in November. One of those photographed was Najim Laachraoui, a suicide bomber at Brussels airport, reports quoted police as saying. Investigations are ongoing as to how Ouali came to be in Italy and into the networks of which he may have been a part. It comes as a terror suspect who was arrested by police in Brussels after a dramatic stand-off at a tram stop was charged over his involvement with a terrorist group. The suspect, identified as Abderamane A., was shot in the leg by police on the 25 Mar 16 in the city's Schaerbeek district, where the bombings on the airport and underground were prepared. He was charged with 'involvement in a terrorist group', Belgian prosecutors said. Abderamane A. was reportedly convicted in 2003 as an accomplice in the assassination of the Afghan political and military leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud, two years earlier. Three other suspects, including the 'man in white' who was seen moments before the Brussels airport bombings, were also charged with terrorism offences. Belgian media named Faycal Cheffou as the suspect pictured alongside Ibrahim El-Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui shortly before they detonated suicide bombs in the departure hall. He was charged with 'involvement in a terrorist group, terrorist killings and attempted terrorist killings' following a series of arrests last week, along with two other men. At the time, police feared another attack was imminent.
United Kingdom – The tight-knit unit, who mask their identity from even fellow militants, includes senior British ISIS fighters who are keen to bring the war to Europe it was reported in a British newspaper on the 20 Mar 16. Claude Moniquet, chief executive of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre, said:”At the beginning this group were just screening fighters and trying to eliminate infiltrators but over the last year they have been tasked with organising terrorist attacks in Europe. “We think between June and September last year (2015), a number of IS operatives - including those who attacked Paris – sneaked into Europe among the thousands of migrants. “We don’t know the exact number, some people say it could be around 100, although that seems too high. “Yet even if there is just 20 or 25, it’s still a large number. We believe they were selected and organised by the security service of Da’esh. “Most of the people are of European origin, they have gone to Syria and come back, but some of them are Iraqi and maybe Syrians. “These men are older, aged in their 40s, and some of them could be members of the Iraqi Special Forces with a real expertise in weapons and explosives.” Mr Moniquet said intelligence reports suggested ISIS had cells in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and potentially Hungary and Greece. As far as Britain is concerned, he said: “The mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, went to the UK shortly beforehand and met people in London and Birmingham. “We believe he was a member of the Da’esh secret service. “There is a clear will by IS to do something big in London and the UK is a primary target but it seems to be much more complicated by the fact Britain as an island has greater controls than the mainland.” According to a former German jihadist who returned from fighting with IS in Syria last July, Britain and Germany are next on the terror group’s hit list. Henry Sarfo, 27, who is being held by authorities in the German city of Bremen is now repentant and has spoken out against the group. In a letter sent to BBC Radio 4 last month he said: “I was asked twice (to carry out attacks in Europe). “The first time was at the beginning, two Frenchmen from the secret service asked me and another German if we were willing to return to Europe to carry out attacks. “The second time I was asked by secret service members from Britain and Germany. “Their faces were covered. They asked me if I was willing to go back or if I knew anyone from Germany or the UK who would be ready for attacks. “They said they would be financially supported and would be sorted out with equipment.” He added: “They’ve (IS) said that France is easy for them because they have enough people living undercover there with clean records but they said there was not enough people in Britain and Germany.”
United Kingdom – Extremists are carrying out mock beheadings and taught how to slit the throat of a bound captive, according to prison sources in British jails it was reported on the 20 Mar 16. The shocking revelations claim that would-be terrorists are being given lessons in how to carry out mass killings during supposed “evening classes” – a British newspaper reported. Held in cells – fanatics inside category A prisons such as Belmarsh, Whitemoor and Long Lartin – are using diagrams and models to teach jihadi recruits how to construct a booby trap, make the poison Ricin and create explosives from just garden fertiliser. The government believes around 1,000 prisoners are at risk of being radicalised. English jails currently hold 131 Islamist inmates convicted of terrorist offences. One senior prison source said: “We have caught terrorist prisoners showing other inmates how to carry out an execution. When we ask what they are doing, the inmates claim they are messing around – but it’s clear that they are involved in something far more sinister. “There are now so many hardened terrorists in top-security prisons in England that in some cases they are ‘running’ wings.” An insider added: “The terrorists recruit and radicalise young Muslim men and tell them that the only people who will give them a chance in the future are radical Islamists. “We have seen them re-enacting beheadings and found diagrams of IEDs. Prisons are now the main recruiting grounds for terrorist groups.” One case revealed how prisoners learned how to hide a bomb inside a torch and use a mobile phone to detonate a explosive device. Glyn Travis, assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, said: “We have concerns Islamist extremists are deliberately getting custodial sentences in order to target vulnerable prisoners.”
United Kingdom – British defence secretary Michael Fallon said on the 24 Mar 16 that the prospect of ISIS or another terror group with the “technical know-how” obtaining nuclear weapons is “obviously a concern.” Fallon said it was important to ensure that terror groups could not “get their hands on nuclear weapons” and said the United Kingdom was doing its part by maintaining strict export controls on the necessary technology. Responding to questions after a speech on the U.K.’s Trident nuclear weapons system, Fallon said: “It is obviously a concern that we will see non-state actors with the finance and perhaps some of the technical know-how seeking to get hold of nuclear weapons. “That is why we maintain very strict export control criteria for the technologies involved and why we need to be on our guard.” The Sun reports that world leaders are set to meet in Washington, D.C. later this month for discussions about how to prevent nuclear terrorism. It is the fourth such summit since 2010. In its Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, the U.K. government said the risk of terrorists obtaining nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons may increase in the coming years. Home Secretary Theresa May has outlined the steps the government was taking to bolster security at home in the wake of the Brussels attacks. She said the U.K. Border Force had increased the number of officers at ports in Belgium and France and introduced “enhanced searches” of inbound tourist vehicles. She confirmed that a £34 million investment to increase the capacity of armed police units able to respond to a Paris-style attack in the United Kingdom would also see forces outside London benefit, following concerns about cuts to capacity in Greater Manchester and Merseyside. May said that the United Kingdom must also “do more to counter the poisonous and repugnant narrative peddled by Da’esh [ISIS] and expose it for what it is — a perversion of Islam, built on fear and lies.” May criticized comments made by Donald Trump, who claimed on Wednesday that Muslims were “absolutely not reporting” suspected terrorists and needed to “open up to society.” May said Trump was “just plain wrong” in his assessment. “People in Muslim communities around the United Kingdom are as concerned as everybody else in the U.K. about both the attacks that have taken place and about the perversion of Islam underlying the ideology that has led to violence,” she said. Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner of the U.K. Counter Terrorism Policing Network, also condemned Trump’s comments, warning that they risked “playing into the terrorists hands and making people feel hate.”
United Kingdom – Rob Wainwright on the 24 Mar 16, the director of the EU’s police agency Europol, said that if Britain left the EU, it could lose access to important databases of terror and criminal suspects needed to fight ISIS. Wainwright said databases provided “daily” benefit to UK police in protecting borders. Leaving the EU would put intelligence cooperation in danger, he said. The BBC reports that Wainwright’s intervention comes after Sir Richard Dearlove, a former head of MI6, wrote an article suggesting that leaving the bloc would be unlikely to affect intelligence gathering. “Britain is Europe’s leader in intelligence and security matters and gives much more than it gets in return. It is difficult to imagine any of the other EU members ending the relationships they already enjoy with the U.K.,” the former head of the Secret Intelligence Service wrote in Prospect magazine. Wainwright suggested, however, that Sir Richard’s views were outdated because the situation had evolved since he retired more than a decade ago. “I’ve seen huge progress in the EU in building up our far stronger capability to fight terrorism and serious crime,” Wainright told BBC Radio 4’s Today program. “I see the benefits of that for British police authorities every day — the European Arrest Warrant being used to fast-track a thousand serious offenders off the streets of Britain every year; border officials in Britain having access to a unique database of 300,000 wanted criminal suspects and missing people as they enter borders. “These are all unique instruments providing daily operational benefit to help British authorities protect their borders and protect their citizens. “The idea that somehow we’d be safer by removing or diminishing our access to what are dozens of unique databases and police cooperation instruments that Britain has come to rely on in recent years is a serious miscalculation. It just doesn’t stand scrutiny.” On the same show, David Davis, the shadow home secretary and a long-time Eurosceptic, criticized Wainwright’s defence of the EU’s contribution to policing. Davis said that pulling out of the EU freedom of movement agreements would be a boon for the U.K.’s security. “We do not do our primary intelligence cooperation through the European Union, we do it through deals with our partners — most particularly France and Germany on the continent,” he argued. “What we’re doing is given ourselves back one of the most important weapons for dealing with terrorism — the ability to stop people at the border, check people at the border, and deport people we don’t want to keep- something we can’t do at the moment. “Many of these killers — there’s no other word for them — are actually European Union citizens. Which means that even though we’re not a member of Schengen we can’t stop them from coming to Britain.” Security experts note, though, that EU freedom of movement rules do explicitly allow member states to bar individuals “on grounds of public policy, public security or public health,” as stipulated in article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Britain, as a member of the EU, does give freedom of movement to all EU citizens — but they must pass through border controls and show passports, because Britain is not a member of the Schengen passport-free area.