Tuesday’s attack in Brussels revealed major holes in Belgium’s national security apparatus. Less than 48 hours after Belgian security forces tracked down Paris-terrorist Salah Abdeslam, an ISIS terror cell linked with Abdeslam himself went fully operational, striking the de facto capital of the European Union. As the country’s intelligence services interrogated Abdeslam, ISIS quickly activated its cells and executed a highly-coordinated, multi-location attack on the city.
Shows how throughly penetrated and mapped Belgium is to these guys if they can go operational within 48 hrs.
— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) March 22, 2016
The planning phase of the attack likely occurred months ago; Belgium’s security failure is a result of months of incompetence. By the time police raided Abdelslam’s house, it was already too late.
The most disconcerting of this horrifying saga? Belgian officials finally admitted last week that they were woefully understaffed and under-resourced. The confession came several months after French authorities demanded the full cooperation of friendly intelligence agencies in tracking down the attackers responsible for the Parisian attacks. Before his recent arrest, Abdeslam had been living in the densely populated Muslim community of Molenbeek in Brussels for months.
— Anup Kaphle (@AnupKaphle) March 22, 2016
It gets worse. One day before the fateful attacks against Brussel’s transportation systems, Belgian police had intel about an imminent attack on the city. The information was likely uncovered after a detained jihadist chose to “cooperate” with investigators. Unfortunately, Belgian authorities were unable to squeeze out the specifics of the planned attack.
Belgian police say there was info yesterday that a terror attack was imminent. But no further details, reports BFMTV #brusselsattack
— katya adler (@BBCkatyaadler) March 22, 2016
Brussels is now the Islamic extremist capital of Europe. “Belgium has the highest number of foreign fighters, per capita, in Syria of any Western European nation,” notes CNN. Just a few miles away from NATO headquarters, Brussels’ Molenbeek district is churning out more foreign fighters than nearly anywhere else on the continent. For years, Brussels city officials have neglected the Muslim enclave, allowing a cesspool of jihadist waste to fester in the area’s 22 mosques.
Molenbeek has been on the radar of every active European intelligence agency for some time now, and yet ISIS terror cells were permitted to thrive. In an address to the nation following the Paris attacks, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel acknowledged,“There is a link to Molenbeek. We are focused on prevention but we need to act repressively, too.”
Despite ramping up security following the attacks on Paris, Belgium has simply been overwhelmed by the onslaught of jihadism. “Links are uncovered between jihadi operations and Belgian terrorist cells with increasing frequency, raising serious questions about the Belgian government’s ability to deal with terrorists who use the country for recruiting and support networks,” explains The Daily Beast. “Belgium, wedged in between Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and France, has brought forth a disproportionate amount of jihadis.”
Today, the city of Brussels is effectively on lockdown. Police are sweeping the streets searching for a third bomber responsible for Tuesday’s attacks, hoping to round up Abdeslam’s remaining associates. If the last few months are any indication, dormant ISIS terror cells will likely lie low and evade Belgian authorities, waiting in hiding to strike again.