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Brussels Terror Alert: “Radicalised” Muslim drives van packed with gas cylinders through red lights before being stopped by police

Thursday, March 2, 2017 13:15
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Terror alert in Brussels as ‘radicalised man’ drives van packed with gas cylinders through red lights before being stopped by police

  • Police and soldiers sealed off a part of central Brussels after stopping a car
  • Driver refused to open trunk, police forced it open and found three gas canisters
  • An area in Porte de Hal was cordoned off, and bomb experts were called in
  • Driver was detained and it is not known whether he will be charged with offence

By Dave Burke and Rachael Burford For Mailonline, 2 March 2017:

Belgian police and soldiers sealed off part of central Brussels after finding gas canisters in a car driven by a man known to have been radicalised, officials said.

Belgium remains on high alert as it prepares to mark the first anniversary of last year’s Islamic State-inspired attacks on the Brussels metro and airport which killed 32 people.

Prosecutors said the man was detained and is being questioned. Reports said he had previously gone to Syria but officials did not confirm that.

The driver, who has been arrested, is alleged to have skipped traffic lights, and police discovered at least two cylinders inside the vehicl

It comes a year after 35 people were killed when Brussels airport and a metro station were attacked
It comes a year after 35 people were killed when Brussels airport and a metro station were attacked

‘The car was stopped because the driver jumped several red lights. The police then noticed several gas canisters in the boot and rather than take any risks, they called for help from the army bomb squad,’ a police spokesman said.

Local mayor Charles Picque told AFP that the driver was ‘someone potentially dangerous’ who was listed as radicalised.

‘When you put it all together… and that there were gas cannisters in the boot, which he did not want to open, then obviously you have to be prudent,’ he added.

The Brussels prosecutors’ office said the bomb disposal squad carried out several controlled explosions but found ‘no detonating mechanism or other explosives in the car.’

The security perimeter around Porte de Hal, in force from mid-afternoon, has also been lifted, it said.

Public broadcaster RTBF said the driver was 27 years old and had gone to Syria in 2014. He was allegedly arrested on his return to Belgium.

He was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison, suspended, at a trial of recruiters of foreign fighters for the Islamic State group in Syria.

The trial was of top jihadist recruiter Khalid Zerkani, who was sentenced in 2016 to 15 years in prison for recruiting dozens of people, including several who became key suspects in the Brussels and Paris attacks, to wage jihad in Syria.

Belgium is one of the largest sources of foreign fighters going to Syria and Iraq.

French police allegedly foiled an imminent attack in September when they detained several women driving a car filled with gas canisters next to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

The area around the vehicle was evacuated after gas cylinders were discovered inside

The security perimeter was set up in the Porte de Hal neighbourhood, near the main Midi rail station in an area that is famous for a medieval fortress which attracts tourists.

Nearby buildings were evacuated and public transport either halted or diverted, causing rush-hour chaos.

The Brussels prosecutors’ office, which confirmed the driver was known to police, said he was now being held for questioning to determine what his intentions were.

‘It is absolutely too early to say that the driver had criminal intentions. All speculation in this sense is premature,’ a statement said, adding that the identity of the driver could not be released while the investigation is underway.

Attacks carried out by home-grown, IS-inspired jihadists on March 22 last year rocked Belgium and sparked a major security clampdown.

The same jihadist cell also played a key role in the November 2015 Paris attacks which claimed 130 lives.



Source: http://pamelageller.com/2017/03/brussels-terror-alert-radicalised-muslim-drives-van-packed-gas-cylinders-red-lights-stopped-police.html/

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