A terror cell in Belgium had been planning to strike France before it conducted a bombing in Brussels on March 22. The decision was changed because the Jihadists were “surprised” by the progress of an ongoing police investigation, according to a statement from the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office, issued Sunday.
The same terror cell was involved in a series of coordinated attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded 368 in November. New plans to strike the city of light again were substituted by various bombings on Belgium’s airport and metro system, which killed 32 on March, according to Expatica from Belgium.
“Numerous elements in the investigation have shown that the terrorist group initially had the intention to strike in France again. Surprised by the speed of the progress in the ongoing investigation, they urgently took the decision to strike in Brussels,” said the prosecutor’s office, according to Expatica.
Bombings in Brussels occurred four days after Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris attacks, was arrested in a police raid in Brussels. However, the prosecutor did not provide further details about the “ongoing investigation.”
Authorities have arrested several people related to the Paris attacks
Paris attackers are under the eye of the international community. Late March, French police arrested Reda Kriket and charged him for owning weapons, and the same type of suicide bombs used by Jihadists from the Islamic State.
On the other hand, Belgium has arrested two suspects from the November Paris attacks, identified as Abderrahmane A. and Rabah M, who may have traveled to Syria with Kriket. All the arrested suspects have been linked to recent attacks in Paris. French prosecutor Francois Molins said that a possible attack could have prevented, by finding the cache of weapons.
“While no specific target has been identified, nonetheless everything leads us to believe that the discovery of this cache (of weapons) has allowed us to prevent an action of extreme violence by a terrorist network,” said Mr. Molins, according to the BBC.
Authorities arrested the ‘man in hat’ in Brussels
The Belgian prosecutor said Sunday that a man that appeared in a video, alongside the two suicide bombers in Brussels, has been charged with terrorist murders in the Paris bombings. Mohamed Abrini, who has identified himself as the man wearing the hat, is part of a terror cell linked to attacks in both countries.
It appears that the 31-year-old man returned to central Brussels to get rid of his hat and coat after he walked off the destroyed departure hall of the Brussels airport. Belgium officers have also charged Osama Krayem, for participating in the bombing of the metro system, which took place an hour after the attack at the airport.
These arrests have reinforced a theory proposing that the attacks in Belgium and Paris claimed by ISIS, are organized by the same terror cell. At the same time, people have criticized Belgian authorities, since several suspects of the Brussels bombings were previously known by police.