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Cablegate: Belgium Arrests Fourteen Suspected Terrorists

VZCZCXRO3902
OO RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHBS #1870 3461600
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111600Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8340
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 0953
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 0359
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEFDHN/DIA DH WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS BRUSSELS 001870

SIPDIS

STATE PASS EUR/WE AND S/CT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV AF PA BE
SUBJECT: BELGIUM ARRESTS FOURTEEN SUSPECTED TERRORISTS

1. (U) Belgian police arrested December 11 fourteen terrorist
suspects, according to press reporting. A total of 242
police officers conducted a series of sixteen raids in
Brussels and one in the Francophone city of Liege. According
to the Belgian prosecutors office, the suspects were linked
to a Belgian Islamist group involved in training and fighting
along the Pakistan border, and were in communication with
important figures in Al Qaeda.

2. (U) In his press statement, Belgian Prosecutor Johan
Delmulle said the target of the planned terrorist attack was
unknown, but could have been in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or a
European target, such as the December 11-12 European Union
Summit being held in Brussels. Delmulle stated that one of
the suspects had received a green light to carry out an
operation, and had already said good-bye to his loved ones.
The information that an attack of some sort was imminent,
coupled with the start of the European Summit spurred the
police to make the arrests.

3. (U) During the December 11 press conference, Brussels
Police Director Glenn Audenart said the group had been
identified a year ago. The federal prosecutor's office
called the investigation one of the most important
anti-terrorism operation in Belgium, claiming that it likely
prevented an attack from being carried out in Brussels.

4. (U) One of the fourteen suspects arrested, Malika
El-Aroud, runs several jihadist websites and is an icon in
the radical Islamist community. She is the widow of one of
the Belgian-nationals who committed suicide to kill Afghan
General Massood's September 9, 2001.

5. (U) In a joint statement Justice Minister Jo Vanderuzen
and Interior Minister Patrick Dewael congratulated the
security services on a job well done. Referring to last
December's terror alert, the two minister pointed out that
today's arrests vindicated the security service assessment
that a threat existed last year.

6. (U) Comment: Belgian Federal Police received some
vindication today by making arrests after a year long
investigation. The Federal Police were widely panned in the
media and criticized for the heightened terrorist alert that
canceled seasonal festivities last December. It turns out
there was a reason for concern, as today's arrests show. It
is now clear that Belgian authorities are able to investigate
and pursue terrorists on Belgian soil.

FOX
.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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