IFE COMMUNIQUÉ: BRUSSELS SITUATION MANAGEMENT
19 November, 2015
On Thursday morning November 19, Belgian police conducted seven house searches in two suburbs of Brussels related to ongoing investigations as part of a campaign to break up jihadist networks in Belgium. Six of the seven searches were carried out among friends and family of a Belgian jihadist who blew himself up at the Stade de France Friday evening. The seventh search was directly related to the ongoing investigation of Friday’s attacks in Paris.
These operations were not raids and met with no resistance.
The six searches not directly related to the events in Paris had been planned from well before the events of November 13 in Paris, and Belgian police authorities took advantage of the current climate to push the investigation forward.
It is important to underline that all but one of the searches were part of ongoing routine police work to interrupt the recruitment and movements of potential jihadists.
The searches mostly took place in Molenbeek, Jette, Laken and one in Brussels proper. The three municipalities are located on the east side of the canal which runs north-south through the eastern part of greater Brussels. No IFE student housing nor internships are located in these districts.
IFE local representative Kathleen Caenen reports: “Apart from the house searches carried out in Molenbeek and its surroundings nothing is going on in Brussels today. I have taken public transportation three or four times today and everything is normal, the trains are slightly delayed as usual. The only visible changes are the increased presence of armed soldiers in key areas, such as near the EU institutions. This morning I arrived by train in Brussels’ Luxemburg station (the station below the EU Parliament) and noticed only that there were soldiers patrolling the station and it’s immediate surroundings.”