Arrests tied to attack: Belgium Terror Arrests

Published: November 15, 2015

Arrests tied to attack: Belgium Terror Arrests, Members of the eight-strong ISIS cell who murdered 129 in Paris includes three brothers who may have gathered in a Belgian suburb called the ‘Jihad capital of Europe’.

The killer gang, containing a number of Frenchman living in Belgium and two others carrying Syrian passports after sneaking into Europe disguised as migrants, it has emerged today.

French and Belgian police are investigating links between the cell and the Molenbeek area of Brussels known as a ‘den of terrorists’ and whether the Paris killers.

Seven people have been arrested in connection with the France attacks in Belgium in the past 24 hours and five are from Molenbeek.

Prosecutors in Brussels said today two vehicles used in the terror attack were rented there and another dumped in Paris has Belgian plates

Three suspects were held after a discarded parking ticket found in a Volkswagen Polo rental car used by the terrorists in Paris led anti-terror police to Molenbeek.

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens confirmed that the driver of a black Volkswagen Golf linked to the attack is a suspected Paris cell member and the brother of a jihadi fighter currently in Syria.

A black Seat Leon with Belgian plates used by the terrorists who murdered diners outside the Casa Nostra pizza restaurant and the La Belle Équipe cafe has been found abandoned in Paris with three AK-47s with five full magazines and 11 empty ones.

French police have said homegrown terrorist Omar Ismaël Mostefai , 29, from Courcouronnes, Paris, was one of the Bataclan suicide bombers but he is said to have been radicalised by a Brussels-based hate preacher who spoke regularly at his French mosque.

Officers are still hunting for two gunmen on the run and the bomb maker who made the killer gang’s suicide vests.

When French authorities asked for Belgian assistance, it emerged that a car driven by a suspected cell member had returned to Brussels on Saturday morning. Mr Van der Sypt said the car was allowed to cross the border because no alert had yet been issued against the men.

The down-at-heel suburb of Molenbeek has been dubbed ‘a den of terrorists’ by Belgian media because it has repeatedly featured in attacks

The Islamist who killed people at a Paris kosher grocery in January at the time of the attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo acquired weapons in the district.

Ayoub El Khazzani, the man behind August’s foiled attack on an Amsterdam-Paris train, had been staying in Molenbeek with his sister before initiating his strike.

The Jewish Museum shooter Mehdi Nemmouche, who killed three people at the in Brussels in 2014 also stayed in the district; as did one of those involved in the Madrid bombings in 2003.

The alleged mastermind behind a plot to kidnap and behead a policeman in the street-inspired by Lee Rigby murder- Abdelhamid Abaaoud -was from Molenbeek. The plot was foiled by Belgian police in January.

Belgian Prime Minster Charles Michel admitted the Molenbeek area has been a major security problem for many years.

He told VRT television today : ‘Almost every single time there’s a link with Molenbeek’ while Belgian Minister of Home Affairs Jan Jambon added: ‘The situation in Molenbeek is out of control.’

Yesterday the Belgian authorities swooped on three men in Molenbeek area at 5pm yesterday – less than 19 hours after at least 129 innocent people lost their lives in Paris.

The arrests came after a black Volkswagen Polo with Belgian number plates was seen parked outside the Bataclan theatre in Paris on Friday night – where more than 89 people were gunned down during an Eagles of Death Metal gig.

Intelligence officers found a parking ticket discarded in the vehicle which had been issued by authorities in the Molenbeek district, prompting police to launch a number of raids across the residential area of Brussels and arrest seven suspects thought to be linked to a terror cell.

Yesterday Belgian authorities swooped on the men in the St Jans Molenbeek area of Brussels at 5pm UK time yesterday – less than 19 hours after at least 129 innocent people lost their lives when gunmen and suicide bombers stormed four restaurants, a packed concert hall and a sports stadium in Paris.

Incredible footage shows armed officers swarm on at least one man and force him to kneel down as they detain him on a wall as shoppers look on.

The arrests came after a black Volkswagen Polo with Belgian number plates was seen parked outside the Bataclan theatre in Paris on Friday night – where more than 89 people were gunned down during an Eagles of Death Metal gig.

Intelligence officers found a parking ticket discarded in the vehicle which had been issued by authorities in the Molenbeek district, prompting police to launch a number of raids across the residential area of Brussels and arrest seven suspects thought to be linked to a terror cell.

Three people, including the Frenchman who hired the VW Polo used in the terror attacks, were also arrested at the Belgian border as they tried to drive from France to Belgium on Saturday.

Belgian Federal Prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt has explained the events leading up to a string of arrests in the troubled Molenbeek area of Brussels over the past 24 hours.

Initially it was thought three suspects were arrested as they tried to cross the border from France in the hours after Friday’s attacks. Mr Van der Sypt said two Belgian-registered cars linked to the Molenbeek area were used in the attack. One of the cars, a grey Volkswagen Polo was identified near the Bataclan concert hall.

According to Der Morgen, Catherine De Bolle, commissioner general of the Belgian Federal Police admitted her officers are unable to provide round-the-clock surveillance of jihadi suspects who have returned from the Middle East.

She said: ‘There are 474 people linked to the conflict in Syria, about 130 of them have returned, 77 have died and there are more than 200 fighters there.

‘Every warrior needs a different approach, we look at what measures we associate with the warrior. We can not follow each returned jihadi around the clock.

‘There is a structured approach, but I obviously can not guarantee proof that there can be no attacks. Also in Paris has been unable to prevent the attacks.’

Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur said jihadis are able to thrive due to the freedom of movement within the European Union. He told RTBF.be: ‘Europe has become borderless, so it is normal that they (the perpetrators of attacks) also benefit. But we must ensure that we are no longer a base for those who go to war in Europe.’

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