The Islamic State terrorist in charge of manufacturing explosives for the 2015 and 2016 Paris and Brussels attacks is still at large and has been designated a global terrorist, the U.S. Department of State revealed Thursday.
The U.S. identified the terrorist as Ahmad Alkhald, a Syrian national intimately involved in both of the deadly terror plots. The State Department’s designation reveals that Alkhald “traveled to Europe, where he helped plan the Paris attacks and manufacture the explosive belts used in that plot.”
Alkhald left Europe shortly before the November 2015 Paris attacks to return to Syria where he “continued to guide ISIS operatives in Europe on making the bombs used in the March 2016 Brussels attacks.” Alkhlad was able to slip in and out of Europe by exploiting refugee flows onto the Greek island of Leros and flying out of Europe on a commercial flight to Turkey.
Western intelligence indicates Alkhald heavily corresponded with the Brussels suicide bombers to assemble suicide vests and believes he prepared some of the materials himself. His fingerprints were found on one of the Brussels vests indicating it had been manufactured months before while he was in Europe, Belgian media reported in March 2017.
Alkhald’s designation as a global terrorist seeks to deny him any “property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction” and decrees that “U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions” with him.
European authorities issued an international warrant for Alkhald’s arrest. He is presumably in hiding within the remaining ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria. High profile terrorists like Alkhald are routinely targeted by U.S. led coalition airstrikes, causing them to seek deep refuge among civilian populations.
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