It is now revealed that not only were at least three bombers involved in the March 22 Brussels attack well-known to Western security agencies, two – brothers Brahim and Khalid El Bakraoui – were both arrested, charged, and imprisoned for violent crimes in 2010 and 2011, the elder brother for shooting at police with an AK-47s automatic rifle during a holdup, and the younger brother for carjacking and possession of several AK-47s, respectively.
It is also now confirmed that the elder brother, Brahim El Bakraoui, was arrested and deported from Turkey last year for suspected terrorist activity, but not before Ankara attempted to notify Brussels in order for El Bakraoui to be detained upon his arrival back in the EU. Brussels, however, failed categorically to act on the alert, allowing El Bakraoui to return home without consequence.
The third suspect, Najim Laachraoui, had traveled to Syria between 2012-2013 and has had an international warrant out for his arrest since 2014 for allegedly aiding in the recruitment of Europeans for the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS).
Germany’s largest press agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, reported in their article, “Reports: Brothers known to police were among Brussels suicide bombers,” that:
Two Brussels brothers who were known to police are among the suicide bombers who carried out deadly terrorist attacks on the international airport and subway in the Belgian capital, local media reported Wednesday.
[Khalid El Bakraoui] had been sentenced in early 2011 to five years in prison for carjackings, after having been arrested in possession of Kalashnikov rifles, according to the Belga news agency.
His brother, 30-year-old Brahim, had been sentenced in 2010 to nine years in prison for having shot at police with a Kalashnikov rifle during a hold-up, Belga said.
The New York Times, in their article, “Brussels Attack Lapses Acknowledged by Belgian Officials,” would report regarding Brahim El Bakraoui’s arrest and deportation from Turkey that:
The Belgian justice and interior ministers acknowledged that their departments should have acted on a Turkish alert about a convicted Belgian criminal briefly arrested in Turkey last year on suspicion of terrorist activity, who turned out to be one of the suicide bombers. And the Belgian prosecutor’s office said that person’s brother — another suicide bomber — had been wanted since December in connection with the Paris attacks.
Apparently in Belgium, you can possess a small military arsenal, even use it against police, and still get out of jail early enough to travel to Syria to join a known terrorist organization before being deported without consequence, then join a terrorist network back home lined by equally known criminals to Belgium security agencies, before carrying out a deadly high profile terrorist attack.
And unlike most ISIS suicide attacks, featuring suicide belts or vests, the bombers involved in the Brussels attack appear to have been pushing carts that contained bombs. It is more than possible that the brothers were unaware of the “one-way” nature of their attack, as a third bomber – Laachraoui, the suspected “bomb maker” – managed to escape, and several reports indicate at least one of the brothers may have possibly dropped off a device at the airport which was remotely detonated before moving onward to the Brussels metro to carry out a second bombing.
Suspects “Escaped” Police Raid a Week Before the Attacks
In addition to the El Bakraoui brothers’ previous arrests in 2010 and 2011, as well as the eldest brother’s arrest and deportation from Turkey last year for suspected terrorist activity, they were also allegedly involved in a police raid just one week before the Brussels attack. During the raid, at least one suspect was killed while two others escaped, the El Bakraoui brothers.
The London Telegraph in their article, “Brussels shootout: Four arrested as Islamic State flag found near the body of gunman,” reported that (emphasis added):
According to Dernière Heure, the two suspects at large are thought to be Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, respectively 26 and 30. Known for gangster-related crimes, the name of one has cropped up in anti-terror investigations, according to Le Monde.
After the standoff, police and special forces expanded their search and homed in on a neighbouring street, rue de l’Eau, after finding two gun cartridges and dark clothing in the area. During a raid on a house, they picked up another Kalashnikov.
The Belgium police and the Western media have categorically failed to foster understanding and help form a clear picture of the terrorists they are allegedly attempting to apprehend. At least four suspects were arrested after the raid, but then released without charges. The identity of the suspects and the circumstances of their release have not been reported.
Terrorists Under Security’s Noses, in their Clutches, Yet Still Carrying Out Attacks
Virtually every single terror suspect involved in the Charlie Hebo massacre and Paris attacks last year in France, and the Brussels attack this week, have been long-known to Western security agencies.
Many have even been detained, convicted, and even imprisoned for violent crimes, with at least one Charlie Hebo massacre suspect having had been previously arrested in 2005 specifically for terror-related charges.
Slate Magazine would report in their article, “The Details of Paris Suspect Cherif Kouachi’s 2008 Terrorism Conviction,” that:
Kouachi was arrested in January 2005, accused of planning to join jihadists in Iraq. He was said to have fallen under the sway of Farid Benyettou, a young “self-taught preacher” who advocated violence, but had not actually yet traveled to Iraq or committed any acts of terror. Lawyers at the time said he had not received weapons training and “had begun having second thoughts,” going so far as to express “relief” that he’d been apprehended.
Kouachi would be later released before travelling to the Middle East to train and fight alongside Al Qaeda. CNN would report in an article titled, “France tells U.S. Paris suspect trained with al Qaeda in Yemen,” that:
Western intelligence officials are scrambling to learn more about possible travel of the two Paris terror attack suspects, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, with new information suggesting one of the brothers recently spent time in Yemen associating with al Qaeda in that country, U.S. officials briefed on the matter told CNN. Additional information from a French source close to the French security services puts one of the brothers in Syria.
Many of the other suspects have also been on terror watch lists for their travels to Syria where they have fought alongside ISIS before inexplicably being allowed to return to Europe and rejoin society without consequence, including at least one of the suspects involved in the recent Brussels attack.
Considering that the US itself admitted in a 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report that it and its allies, including “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey,” sought the creation of a “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) in eastern Syria precisely where ISIS now resides, it should not be surprising to find what appears to be an intentionally ineffective security policy put in place, allowing known, violent criminals, with obvious ties to terrorist organizations to operate freely both overseas in open combat against the West’s enemies, and at home to carry out a constant procession of attacks that foster fear, hatred, hysteria, and above all obedience to Western special interests at home.
Just as with the Charlie Hebo massacre, where the backstories of the suspects raised questions as to why they were not already long-ago jailed, the multiplying indicators that Western security agencies knew about, but inexplicably failed to stop known terrorists before this week’s attack will likely conjure up familiar excuses of “incompetence” or “overtaxed” security organizations.
And just like the terrorists security agencies have repeatedly failed to stop despite tracking and even capturing and detaining them multiple times, those among Western security agencies and governments responsible for negligence ahead of this most recent attack are very likely never to see the inside of a jail cell.
All that’s left is for the public to reconcile the West’s alleged claims it is fighting ISIS versus its actions which appear to be aiding, abetting, and perpetuating this global menace, at home and abroad.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine“New Eastern Outlook”.