A suspected Islamic State sympathizer trying to carry out a suicide bombing was neutralized by Belgian police at Brussels Central Train Station in Belgium. Witnesses say the man shouted, “Allahu Akbar!” or, “Allah is the greatest!” a common, Islamist battle cry. Sky News reports that the bomber had on an explosive-laden belt. However, this was later deemed unfounded. NBC News reports that the suspect has been shot and killed by police.
Remy Bonnaffe, a witness to the attack and provider of the above photo, told Fox News, “he first heard two loud bangs like an explosion, with the first bang taking place while everyone was still at the boarding platform. When the second bang took place, everyone then hid.” According to Bonnaffe, the thing on fire in the photo is a suitcase that could have been containing an explosive device.
Journalist Tom Rogan points out that concern may now move to a secondary attack, as has been the M.O. of previous Islamic State-inspired attacks if it is indeed one. Earlier today, U.S. Central Command reported that Coalition in forces in Mayadin, Syria killed Turki-al-Bin’ ali, the “Grand Mufti,” or chief cleric, of ISIS.
ISIS has been highly active in Europe this spring and especially since the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Yesterday, a suspected Islamic State sympathizer was killed attempting to attack police in Champs-Elysses, Paris.
ISIS has attacked Brussels before. In March 2016, Islamic State-inspired men carried out 3 coordinated suicide bombings, two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels. The suspects, 3 of 5 which committed suicide in the attack, were all of either Moroccan or Syrian descent. Mohamed Abrini, one of the attackers, failed to commit suicide and was arrested. Osama Krayem, the Syrian, was also arrested.
The attack left 32 dead. All of the attackers had involvement in the 2015 Paris attacks.
Belgium has been described as ISIS’ terrorist “hot bed,” reports The New York Times. They write, “It has become Europe’s biggest per capita contributor of fighters to Syria, and its capital has become an incubator for radicalism.” According to Business Insider, the small country, which borders France, the Netherlands, and Germany, has high rates of terrorist sympathizers because of “socio-economic inequality, existing terrorist networks, and an overwhelmed security force.”