Here are a couple of tidbits that show we are on the right track here at Hindsight is 20/20.
Oussama Atar Is the Cousin of the El Bakraoui Brothers
My speculations back in April turned out to be correct. La Capitale ran a story under the headline, “Oussama Atar, mentor of the El Bakraoui brothers, was in prison in Iraq with the current leader of Daesh.” In it they detail that police searched the residence of Oussama Atar the day after the Brussels bombings, which was located at rue du Busselenberg 64 in Anderlecht. No arrests were made, and apparently Atar was not present at the time.
The article went on to confirm that Atar is the cousin of the El Bakraoui brothers and that they were quite close as young men, spending a lot of time at the youth center near Atar’s home. It then goes into the history of Atar in Iraq, referring to his time spent in Camp Bucca and how he might have rubbed shoulders with the men who would go on to lead today’s Islamic State organization.
Atar was eventually released from prison, returning to Belgium in September of 2012. Stunningly, his lawyer who had worked to repatriate him for so many years was contacted again by the family in 2013, saying that he had been arrested in Tunisia for involvement with jihadists. It is unclear what transpired after that, but he was clearly able to return to Belgium and establish himself at the rue du Busselenberg 64.
According to the writers, the spokesman for the federal prosecutor, Eric Van Der Sypt, stated that authorities are examining the hypothesis that the brothers were influenced/radicalized by their cousin, so there are no definite answers yet to that question.
Oussama’s brother, Yassine, continues to be detained, his detention having been twice extended now. More to the point, however, is that there is no indication that Oussama has been detained. If that is true, it may indicate that we have another plotter “quietly” at large. Alternatively, Oussama may have long ago set out for the Caliphate, and the authorities are only realizing it now.
Trip to the Bookstore Cut Short
Wouldn’t you know it? A few days after writing my piece about the Makkah al-Mukarramah bookstore in Schaerbeek, I discovered that it had been liquidated literally four days prior to my writing the article. I don’t have any information as to why the store was closed. But it gives me the feeling I was right to check it out.