Two Weeks in the New Normal

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Mourad Hamyd in detention in Sofia (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP)

I’ve been away for a while, so I’m catching up with recent news stories on events in Europe.  After the recent spate of attacks, things have simmered at a lower level in the past couple weeks, but there is still plenty in which to delve, even if one limits himself to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Continue reading

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Benhattal Gives El Bakraoui, Which Gives Attar, Which in Turn Gives Benhattal

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Following up my previous post, I’ve spent some time in the past week digging around into the criminal Underworld of Brussels in cases where it has exploded onto the pages of the Belgian press.  Admittedly, I am at the mercy of what makes its way into freely available sites, so I’m sure there is a whole world of material I’m not seeing.  Yet, I think the little bit I’ve done is already paying dividends in terms of my understanding of what is happening.

The point of interest is the surname Benhattal.  In my last post, I mentioned that Ibrahim El Bakraoui’s stint in prison came as a result of an attempted theft and shootout with the police.  His driver was a Jawad Benhattal, who received 6 years for his role in the crime.  Unfortunately, I was not able to find anything further on him, specifically. Continue reading