The latest on the Brussels terrorist attacks
Lots going on over there. I’m going to do a sort of round up of what we know, what we think we know, and what we don’t know.
The National (from Canada):
Meanwhile, the Paris attacker who was captured last week (and presumably unwittingly set this all in motion) says he knows nothing about this one:
Salah Abdeslam, the lone surviving suspect in last November’s terror attacks in Paris, has denied have prior knowledge of Tuesday’s suicide bombings in Brussels, his lawyer said Thursday.
«He didn’t know it,» Sven Mary told reporters outside court.
The explosions at the Belgian capital’s Zaventem airport and on a city subway train killed at least 31 people and injured 250 others.
Mary also said that Abdeslam would not fight extradition to France, saying that his client «wanted to explain himself in France.
The Telegraph, in the United Kingdom is fingering some other guy as the plotter:
The Brussels and Paris terror attacks hinged on a pot-bellied, bearded jihadi guru who goes by the nickname of Papa Noel, or Father Christmas, it emerged on Thursday.
Prosecutors say Khalid Zerkani, 42, dubbed «Belgium’s biggest ever jihadi recruiter», had links with Najim Laachraoui, whose DNA on Wednesday betrayed him as the second suicide bomber of the Brussels airport attack – pictured pushing a trolley with one black glove on shortly before the devastating blasts.
Police suspect Laahchraoui of being the bomb maker in both Brussels and Paris. Belgian authorities say Laachraoui travelled to Syria in 2013 to train and recruit other foreign fighters before slipping back into Europe among a wave of migrants last autumn.
The BBC has a good round up of people killed and injured, including the man pictured above:
Sebastien Bellin, a Brazilian-born father of two and basketball player with the Belgian national team, is among the wounded. He was pictured lying on the airport floor with blood pooled around his leg.
In its claim of responsibility, the Islamic State group said its members detonated suicide vests both at the airport and in the subway, where many passengers fled to safety down dark tunnels filled with hazy smoke from the explosion. A small child wailed, and commuters used cellphones to light their way out. IS warned of further attacks, issuing a communique promising “dark days” for countries taking part in the anti-IS coalition.
And, if the thought of them pulling this off isn’t terrifying enough for you, AP is reporting that there are up to 400 more of these lunatics all set to destroy more:
The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press.
The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq.
The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to target the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered «more or less everywhere.»
This is only going to get worse. If they can get to Europe, they can certainly get to here as well.