Saturday, December 22, 2007

Terror Threat Hangs Over Belgian Christmas

More translated news on the possible Belgian Christmas Terror Plot. Here I summarize a long article at Le Soir, "Christmas Under Heavy Surveillance In Brussels":

Newly sworn in Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt announced to the national press late last week that the government possessed “information leading us to believe that a terrorist attack might be in the planning stages in the nation of Belgium”.

Lieve Pellens, spokesperson for federal investigators, is quoted in the Belgian newspaper Le Soir: “It all stems from an projected escape attempt by terrorist Nizar Trabelsi, charged in June 2004 to ten years in prison. We had obtained information mentioning this attempt. An investigation had been opened and had confirmed the hypothesis whereby the prisoner’s entourage were going to make use of arms and explosives to get him out of Lantin [prison]… If the individuals following radical islam are ready to make use of explosives and heavy weapons for a jaibreak, they must be capable of preparing a [terrorist] attack.” … “the particular investigative techniques – including telephone monitoring – put in effect to stop the prison break enabled us to establish that Trebelsi’s entourage had intended on perpetrating an attempt”.

“We know a good number of them [the terrorist’s circle of friends]. Some appeared during Trabelsi’s trial in 2004."

The principal individual among the suspects is Malika, from MolenBeek, widow of Abdesatar Dahmane, one of the assassins who blew himself up while “interviewing” Afghan anti-taleban warlord Massoud, back on sept 9, 2001. Malika has since created a support network for Nizar Trabelsi and his friends. She even organizes collections for financing their escape. In June her and her new husband, Tunisian Moez Garsallaou, were found guilty in Switzerland of supporting islamist terrorist groups.

Acording to Jaak Raes, general director of the Interior’s crisis center, “In Brussels, a police presence will be placed in the subway, in Christmas villages, on the Grand-Place and everywhere that a crowd will gather. Measures similar to those taken during a European summit. Other more discreet measures will also be taken”.

The extra security is planned to remain in place until the 2nd of January, but may be prolongued if the situation calls for it.

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