Published 11:23 March 1, 2016
Updated 11:31 March 1, 2016
Belgian police knew about the terrorist plans of the Abdeslam brothers since April 2014, reveals the Belgian newspaper L’Echo
A credible informer called the police to warn them that the Abdeslam brothers are preparing a terror attack, and that they are not hiding it to their own family. The source detailed contacts between the radicalised brothers and Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind between the Paris attacks in November 2015, as well as their fascination with the Islamic State from Syria.
The Belgian secret services did nothing with the information. Six months later, the two brothers were interrogated by the Molenbeek local police, which decided that they showed no sign of being radicalised.
Salah Abdeslam, whose brother blew himself up in Paris, is suspected of helping to equip the gunmen and suicide bombers and may have taken part himself. Abdeslam, who had spent time in prison and was accused of dealing drugs, is suspected by French and Belgian investigators of playing a role in equipping the team that attacked cafes, a concert hall and other venues.
Abdeslam stayed in the Brussels neighbourhood of Schaerbeek for weeks following the attacks that killed 130 people and wounded 352 on November 13 2015.
Surveillance footage at a petrol station showed him returning by car to Belgium a day after the attacks.
He avoided capture when French police checked his papers shortly before he was listed as wanted.
The new revelation shows Belgian secret services are in a deep and urgent need of reform.