Belgium knew Abdeslam planned ‘irreversible act'

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 29.04.2016 21:21

The Politico Europe website yesterday reported that Belgian police allegedly had information that Paris attackers Salah and Brahim Abdeslem had planned to carry out "an irreversible act," indicating police sloppiness and lack of coordination.

The website cited a "classified police watchdog's report on the country's response to the Paris attacks." The Politico Europe website claimed the report said Belgian security forces knew before the attacks about the radicalization of the Abdeslem brothers and their links to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged planner of the Paris attacks, as well their intention to commit "an irreversible act." Highlighting sloppiness, a lack of resources and a lack of coordinated intelligence sharing between police officials, the report – drafted by a watchdog named the Standing Police Monitoring Committee, or Comité P – exposed potential police failings regarding the November 13 Paris attacks. The report is described as "highly classified" by several government sources, reported the website. The website claims that in the report Belgian police argued that no entry regarding the brothers was entered into the central police database since "it could not be established with certainty which brother was involved." Comité P nonetheless says the names of both brothers were on the terrorist watchlist.

Another claim by the Politico website is that police actually had access to the Abdeslem brothers' computers and phone data since February 2015, but they had not exploited this information. At the beginning of 2015, Belgian prosecutors requested permission to tap the brothers' phone calls, but the request was turned down by the police who said there was a lack of resources.

On Nov. 13, 2015, France was hit by an appalling terrorist attack in which 130 people died, while hundreds were wounded.

Following three coordinated bombings in Brussels on March 22 which killed 32 victims, Belgian authorities faced serious questions about possible lapses in security, as Turkey had warned Belgium about one of the attackers, and two additional suspects were on the United States terror watch list. After the attacks, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at European leaders who had dismissed warnings from Turkey, which had notified the Belgian authorities after it had deported one of the Brussels terrorists to the Netherlands, because Brussels had failed to share intelligence with Turkey.

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