When I wrote my article bemoaning the lack of information and progress regarding the case of Ayoub el-Khazzani on August 20, 2016, I thought I had done an exhaustive search of the available information on him. I think now that was largely true, but unfortunately, I missed something key. It’s been a long time since I published anything, and in light of the February release of Eastwood’s new movie, I’d like to take the opportunity of my return to go over what I missed and bring you up to speed on the handful of developments that have taken place.
Recently I’ve been casting about for what to write on next, but I keep coming back to Belgium. There’s just so much there and so many avenues to research, no pun intended. That brings me to the February 2016 trial in Brussels of over 30 terrorism subjects, a trial that seems to be turning into an annual event. Early on one of the suspects, Khalid Zerkani, was split out for his own separate trial, and like most Belgian terror trials, few of the accused were actually present. One of those accused was actually on-the-loose in Brussels itself and would vaporize himself inside Zaventem airport a month later—Najim Laachraoui. Continue reading
Friday was a busy day for Belgian law enforcement with multiple operations resulting in the arrest of the last remaining publically-revealed fugitive from the Paris attacks, Mohamed Abrini. In addition, a recently revealed suspect, Osama Krayem (sometimes seen as Oussama Kraiem), known until now as Naim al-Hamed, was also captured. In all, six individuals were arrested, the others being Hervé B.M., Bilal El Makhoukhi, and two possibly unrelated individuals named Assia B. and Chaouki A. The last two may have been swept up inadvertently for being close to the operations and acting in a manner suspicious to police. Politico early on named another individual as Abu Amrid, but nothing further was ever reported on that, and I would take it with a grain of salt as this topic is not their bread-and-butter. Continue reading
Due to other requirements on my time, I was forced to sit back for a few days and watch as things unfolded in the aftermath of the Brussels bombings. Thankfully, this was so, because we’ve seen raid upon raid and arrest after arrest since late last week with little clarity added to the picture since then. All that seems to be apparent is that the situation is far more complex and worrisome than authorities have either believed or made known to the public before now. Continue reading
Here are the facts as they currently stand with respect to perpetrators of Tuesday’s attacks, and they are somewhat surprising if you’ve been paying attention. At least four people were involved—three according to CCTV footage from Zaventem airport, and one at the metro station at Maelbeek. Authorities have confirmed the identity of one of the bombers at the airport and the one who bombed the metro station. They are the El Bakraoui brothers who the media had briefly speculated were the two individuals who had fled the raid in Forest, which kicked off the whole chain of events with respect to Salah Abdeslam’s capture and this week’s attack. Continue reading