Terrorist threat against New Year celebrations in Belgium

A Belgian muslim extremist close to a network of Syria fighters threatens with a terrorist attack during the New Year celebrations in the cities of Antwerp and Brussels.

In a private Facebook message sent on Sunday to the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’, the extremist pointed out that the firework spectacle along the river Scheldt, the city’s Central Station and the main shopping street Meir are possible targets, while in Brussels the Atomium monument was named. “I’m warning muslims against attending these events and against joining non-believers there”, he wrote.

The author of the message is using a Facebook account with the name ‘Madjlis Shura Muhajirien’, a reference to the brigade of foreign fighters in Syria that counted several Belgians in it’s ranks before it was integrated in the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Sham’ (ISIS). The Facebook account was started early in 2013 within the entourage of Houssien Elouassaki, the former leader of the Shariah4Belgium movement in the town of Vilvoorde, who reportedly has been killed in Syria since.

Recently, that same account was used already two times to send threatening messages towards Belgium. One in October — a video in which a masked Syria fighter fulminated with an Antwerp accent against “the descendants of apes and pigs who fight islam” — and another earlier this month — a nasheed-like audio message in Dutch in which the Belgian Defense Secretary Pieter De Crem was warned for a car bomb and the Atomium in Brussels also was mentioned as a target for a terrorist attack.

A high ranking Belgian security source told ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ that the new threat has to be taken seriously. “Moments as this are real nightmares for us”, he did admit. “The extremists are choosing their targets quite well, it shows. What happened today in the Russian city of Volgograd is proving how difficult it is to secure public places. In Russia, even railway stations are equipped with scanners. But that doesn’t guarantee they can thwart every attack.”

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