March 24, 2016   |   Claire Bernish
March 24, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) Brussels, Belgium — A startling allegation concerning Brussels emerged on Wednesday: according to Haaretz, Belgian and Western intelligence agencies had “advance and precise” knowledge about the attacks, which claimed at least 31 lives. Haaretz reported:
“The security services knew, with a high degree of certainty, that attacks were planned in the very near future for the airport and, apparently, for the subway as well.”
Though the news outlet does not reveal its sources’ names, the allegation mirrors similar reports that authorities knew attacks were imminent.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had warned on Friday that terror attacks in Europe would likely be forthcoming, specifically naming Brussels as a possible location.
“There is no reason why the bomb that exploded in Ankara cannot explode in Brussels, in any other European city,” Erdoğan stated during a speech to commemorate a famous World War I battle in Canakkale. It should be noted it’s possible he mentioned Brussels to make an analogy, as Ankara is Turkey’s capital city and Brussels is the de facto capital of the E.U.
Regardless, mounting reports indicate a number of strange coincidences surrounding the Brussels attacks.
“One of the attackers in Brussels is an individual we detained in Gaziantep in June 2015 and deported,” stated Erdoğan, who did not name the specific attacker in question. “We reported the deportation to the Belgian Embassy in Ankara on July 14, 2015, but he was later set free.”
He added, “Despite our warnings that this person was a foreign terrorist fighter, Belgium could not establish any links with terrorism.”
An unnamed official from the Turkish president’s office later claimed the deported attacker was Ibrahim El Bakraoui.
Ibrahim and his brother Khalid El Bakraoui have been named by Belgian authorities for carrying out the airport attack with a third attacker, Najim Laachraoui, who remains the subject of an extensive manhunt. Laachraoui could be seen accompanying the two brothers in airport surveillance footage, but managed to flee the scene after the bombs went off. According to Haaretz, Laachraoui “created the explosives vests used by the bombers” — and thus bears particular concern for authorities.
Erdoğan has waged an aggressive, relentless, and often controversial battle with the Kurds, who are seeking to establish an independent state. After the attacks in Brussels, Erdoğan — who has been accused of working in concert with Daesh (ISIL) — attempted to appear sympathetic with the victims in a written statement:
“The heinous attacks in Brussels have reiterated that terror cannot be a method of struggle for freedom, and once again underlined the need for the common struggle against all types of terror.”
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