After a series of house raids, Belgian police arrested six more suspects in a terrorist plot to strike targets in and around Brussels on Thursday. Two arrests were made on Tuesday. The threat forced officials to cancel New Year celebrations in the Belgian capital, including fireworks.
Police also arrested a tenth suspect in the Paris terror attacks on Wednesday.
Police Confiscated Cell Phones and Computers. No Weapons or Explosives Found.
Police conduct searches linked to the Paris terror attack in Molenbeek, a district of Brussels.
According to NPR correspondent Teri Schultz, “Today’s searches in several different districts of Brussels did not turn up weapons or explosives, officials said, but along with the six people taken in for questioning were seized computer and data equipment, cellphones and materials used in a shooting game that uses replicas of military-style weapons.” Police searched seven locations in Molenbeek, Anderlecht, Laeken and Leeuw-Saint-Pierre.
Suspects Belong to a Muslim Motorcycle Gang. No Link Found as Yet to ISIS.
Authorities have not, as yet, linked the suspects to ISIS.
The suspects all belong to a Muslim motorcycle gang called the Kamikaze Riders. Little else about their identies has been released. Police found pro-ISIS propaganda on the two suspects arrested on Tuesday. A senior counterterrorism official told CNN, on condition of anonymity, that police have as yet found no link to the Muslim terror group. Only sympathy to the ISIS cause. Yet, at this early stage, the possibility cannot be ruled out.
The official went on to say authorities are convinced the suspects planned to attack police, soldiers, and popular attractions – including Brussels’ Grand Place square.
The Kamikazi Riders have easy access to guns, and have been connected to robberies and other criminal activity, according to André Vandoren, the head of Belgium’s coordinating body for threat analysis.
Belgium: A Leading Terror Recruitment Grounds and Center for “Gangster Jihadism”
Belgium was home to four of the attackers in the November Paris attacks which claimed 130 lives. This includes suspected ringleader Abdelhamid
Islamic extremism is a growing problem for Europe.
Abaaoud. The nation has been one of Europe’s leading recruitment grounds for foreign jihadi fighters.
The prosecuter’s office announced that the arrests are not connected to the Paris attacks.
Morten Storm points to a growing threat of “gangster jihadism” in Europe. He is a former member of a biker gang who turned to Islamic extremism before becoming a double agent for the CIA. “A significant number of Muslims involved in criminality are becoming born again in the religion and are becoming radicalized in jail, but many keep their ties to their old circles when they get out,” he said.
The suspects have not as yet been charged. They will face a majistrate to see if further detention is warranted.
I am a beat reporter here at The Daily Voice, and a writer and editor for DailyTwoCents.com and Writedge.com. My interests are wide ranging outside of the virtual newsroom, yet here I mainly focus on serious world news and commentary. I graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in history.