Phone tap of Belgian Syria fighter revealing Brussels terrorist plotPosted: 2013/05/24
The biggest fear surrounding the case of western Syria fighters is coming true: a war-hardened extremist that wants to commit violence on western soil. A recently intercepted phone call between Syria fighter Houssien Elouassaki and one of his brothers in their Belgian home town of Vilvoorde has made clear that the first one is plotting a terrorist attack against Brussels’ main court house. Apparently, the needed weapons and explosives are gathered via contacts in the world of serious crime.
The revelation that was confirmed by two independent security sources to Belgium’s largest newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ and published last weekend, is a serious one. Within a few weeks there could be a major terrorist attack in the country, probably against the landmark Brussels court house.
That is what police has learned from the phone call that Houssien Elouassaki made from Syria to one of his brothers. Weapons and explosives are sought abroad via contacts within Brussels’ serious crime community. But nobody wanted to tell whether they are already obtained.
Also an open question is whether Houssien Elouassaki wants to return from Syria to commit the attack himself. Another possibility is recruiting terrorists within the large group of followers he got as a leader of the now disbanded extremist group ‘Shariah4Belgium’. Fact is that his Facebook account recently was removed, as was the case with that of some of his friends. As if their contacts suddenly had to be hidden.
Houssien Elouassaki was one the most notorious members of ‘Shariah4Belgium’. He has already spend some time in jail after violent street protests in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek last year, and was convicted to compulsory community service for that. In February of this year, he went to Syria and according to the latest information he is still fighting there.
His younger brother Hakim also fought in Syria, but he was gravely wounded and returned. Last month, Hakim was arrested when Belgian police conducted a large operation against the network of Syria fighters that has grown out of ‘Shariah4Belgium’, as was the case for their oldest brother Abdelouafi. He is suspected of aiding the Syria fighters, both practically and financially. Abdelouafi was released on May 8th, and it seems it was with him that Houssien has talked about his terrorist plot.
The Elouassaki family, originally from the Moroccan town of Nador, is well known for violence. At the age of 16, Hakim already wounded three cops so badly they all had to be hospitalized, while Abdelouafi threatened to attack a female journalist of ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ when she asked about the extremist background of his brothers about a month ago.
Shortly after publication in ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’, the Belgian federal prosecution office told the Belga press agency that the story isn’t correct. But it didn’t want to elaborate — Entirely false? Wrong in a particular detail? — “in order to protect the investigation”. The journalists stick to their story, explaining that their second source was genuinely appalled that a newspaper had heard about it — since it was highlighted in the dossiers as strictly confidential.That could be the reason why authorities want to stop the media attention for the case as soon as possible. But the acknowledgment that there is an investigation, tells at least there is something to investigate…