/ Francois Lenoir
Belgian intelligence services warned on Friday that the country faces a continuing terrorist threat because of extremism in prisons and the risk of terrorists being returned to their activities, a “very serious case.”
The warning was issued by the state security service, the Belgian Civil Intelligence, in a report on its activities for the years 2017-2018, which the Belgian media considered a “revolutionary” step reflecting a rare transparency.
According to the report, the Belgian prisons “currently include detainees on charges of terrorism in unprecedented numbers,” putting the country at risk of more “infection” of extremism “than ever before.”
“Given the current and continuing tendency of former detainees imprisoned on terror charges to resume their activities, not to mention ordinary” ordinary “prisoners, Belgium must, for a certain period, address a potential terrorist threat,” the report said.
“Those who will be released within three or five years are likely to unleash a new wave of extremism, but another jihadist wave in the country,” he said.
According to the report, Belgium is one of the most “jihadist” exporting countries to fight in Syria with more than 400 of them since 2012. Nearly one-third of them have returned and many have been killed, but the report notes that around 150 are still “active” “He said.
Belgium targeted several jihadist attacks adopted by the Da'ash organization, especially in 2016, when 32 people were killed in Brussels, and in May 2018 three people were killed in Liege.
It is important to note that the cell that committed attacks at the Brussels airport and the train station on 22 March was behind the attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 that killed 130 people.
The cell included elements who fought in Syria and a number of former convicts.