Remember how the mayor of Molenbeek, Francoise Schepmans, denied all claims of any problems with extremism in the town? The Mayor of Molenbeek was given a list of more than 80 jihadists living in the area a month before the Paris attack.
Terror mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who left Molenbeek to join ISIS in Syria in 2014, was said to have been on the list handed to Francoise Schepmans.
She was also given the names of the Abdeslam ‘blood brothers’, Brahim and Salah, who lived in an apartment visible from the Mayor’s office. And she did absolutely nothing about it. Instead she argues that poverty creates terrorists although all terrorist organisations are full of wealthy and educated people, and are funded by mosques to the tune of millions. It’s her job and duty to be informed and aware. Stupidity is not an excuse. She should be sued, charged with treason and handled accordingly.
Three people are arrested as Belgian anti-terror police launch huge raid on the same street in ‘Europe’s jihadi capital’ Molenbeek where Paris attacks mastermind Salah Abdeslam lived
- The district of Brussels is known to be rife with ISIS sympathisers
- Salah Abdeslam was found there after masterminding the Paris attacks
- Perpetrators of the 2004 Madrid bombings and an attack in Belgium lived there
- One of the raids is believed to have been carried out on the street where Abdeslam was arrested
Streets in the ‘jihadi capital of Europe’ have been blocked off as anti-terrorism squads launch a major operation.
Large areas have been cordoned off in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, which is known for being rife with ISIS sympathisers and is not far from the EU headquarters.
A police helicopter has also spotted flying overhead.
A spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, Ine Van Wymersch, said that four searches were conducted and three people have been detained.
But she added: ‘The operation has ended. Nothing was found, no weapons, no explosives.’
She declined to provide more details but said that the three would be questioned on Sunday to establish whether they should be charged or released.
According to Belgian media, masked policemen and armoured cars have been patrolling the streets, while officers have also been using ladders to scale buildings.
The area has been linked to several major terrorist incidents in recent years, including being the home of Salah Abdeslam, who masterminded the 2015 attacks in Paris which killed 130 people.
A huge operation was launched in the wake of the atrocities in the French capital, with several key figures being arrested, including Abdeslam.
The operation is actually centred around the same street as where Abdeslam was arrested, the Rue Delaunoy.
Perpetrators of the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the Brussels Airport attack and an attack in on a Jewish museum in the Belgian capital have also resided in Molenbeek.
Historian Pieter Van Ostaeyen tweeted: ‘#Molenbeek Brussels 4 or more houses searched by police forces. Increased presence of military and police reported #Belgium’
Shortly after the Paris attacks, Mr Van Ostaeyen, an expert on jihad, said there were about 190 Belgian fighters in Syria last month, the majority with ISIS, including 47 women.
Just before the turn of the year, a 14-year-old was arrested with a bag full of explosives and a bottle with “Allahu Akbar” labelling.
The boy, who was not named in reports, was part of a group which worked on a construction yard near to the Brussels-West train station.