Belgian authorities didn’t arrest a few Paris terror suspects despite being well aware of their radicalization and attempted trips to Syria.
Ibrahim Abdeslam — who blew himself up outside a cafe, killing only himself — was stopped in Turkey earlier this year when attempting to travel to Syria. Law enforcement released him after failing to provide sufficient evidence that he was taking part in terrorist activities, Politico reports.
His younger brother Salah Abdeslam, who is still at large after Friday’s attacks, was also questioned about his ties to radical islamism.
“We knew they were radicalized, and that they could go to Syria,” said Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office. “But they showed no sign of possible threat.”
One of the brothers had also made repeated trips to Paris in the weeks leading up to the attacks. Belgian authorities were aware of the trips but didn’t share the information with France.
“Even if we had signaled them to France, I doubt that we could have stopped them,” Van Der Sypt said.
Ibrahim Abdeslam was targeted as recently as eight days before the attacks. He got a citation “for compromising public security and tranquillity,” by supplying illegal substances at his bar in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek.
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