Brussels airport attack: Paris attacks kingpin Abdeslam's interrogation had hinted at possible strike

26-year old Salah AbdeslamPhoto: AP/PTI
The serial blasts by terrorists at  Brussels airport on Tuesday has brought the focus back on the Kingpin of Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, taken into custody last Friday in Belgium. Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders was quoted on Sunday saying that Abdeslam was planning to "restart something in Brussels", hinting to possible attacks similar to the ones that took place in Paris. 

Addressing a forum at Brussels on Sunday, the foreign minister said it maybe the reality as security forces found "a lot of weapons" in the operation led to Abdeslam's arrest in the Belgian capital, Xinhua reported.

The suspect had a network around him, Reynders said.

Abdeslam was charged on Saturday with "terrorist murders and participation in the activities of a terrorist group," said the Belgian federal prosecutor's office.

Abdeslam, one of the most wanted men in Europe, is suspected of involvement in attacks in Paris as a logistician. These attacks killed 130 people in Paris on November 13, 2015.

But Tuesday's attacks are not the first Belgium has seen in recent times. 

CNN has also quoted officials who claim about 120-180 operatives in some 20 sleeper cells are awaiting orders to carry out attacks in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

CNN also reports that Belgian officials have been unable to quell the flow of fighters traveling to ISIS territory, and -- perhaps more worryingly, authorities are terrified the fighters will bring another Paris-style attack -- back to Europe.

Belgian Police shot dead two suspects on January 15 in eastern Belgium as they were about to launch “large-scale” attacks in the country after returning from Syria. According to this report, the prosecutors said that a third suspect was arrested in the eastern town of Verviers and that the police had carried about 10 raids in all, including in the capital Brussels, after surveillance suggested an attack was imminent.

The Times of Israel also reports that in May 2014, four people were shot dead in a suspected Islamist attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche, who had previously been in Syria, has been charged with murder.

The men targeted in Verviers were under surveillance, having returning from Syria a week ago, according to Belgian media reports.

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