“The lone wolf thesis seems closest to reality,” say the authorities

In Belgium, the investigation continues the day after the attack which cost the lives of two people in Brussels. For the authorities, the author of the attack probably acted alone. “The lone wolf thesis seems closest to reality”, said federal prosecutor Frédéric Van Leeuw on Tuesday, October 17, during a press conference after a meeting of the National Security Council. There is, at this stage, “no indication on a network” who would be at the origin of the attack, added the Belgian Minister of Justice, Vincent Van Quickenborne.

The attacker, a 45-year-old Tunisian presented as Abdesalem Lassoued, had served a prison sentence in Sweden. in 2012-2014 » , the Swedish migration office announced on Tuesday, October 17. The office’s spokesman, Jesper Tengroth, refused to specify the reason for the sentence and its duration. Mr Tengroth explained that the man had been transferred from Sweden “to another European country under the Dublin Regulation”which provides that migrants must seek asylum in the European country where they first arrive.

Read also: Live, attack in Brussels: what we know about the current investigation and the alleged shooter

The man was illegally staying in Belgium after the rejection of an asylum application in 2020, and subject to an order to leave the territory which was never executed. The Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, pleaded for better application of these decisions for those who do not have “no right to protection”. Such an order “must become more restrictive”said the Flemish liberal leader.

The assailant was pronounced dead at 9:38 a.m.

The double homicide, described as “cowardly attack” by Mr. De Croo, was perpetrated not far from downtown Brussels on Monday, shortly after 7 p.m., a few hours before a football match between Belgium and Sweden at the King Baudouin stadium. The attacker killed two Swedish supporters with an automatic weapon and injured a third before fleeing on a scooter.

The perpetrator fled and was searched for a dozen hours, before being spotted on Tuesday, shortly after 8 a.m., by a witness in a café in the Brussels commune of Schaerbeek, where he lived. During the police intervention, “shots were fired and the suspect was shot”, specified the federal prosecutor’s office. He was transferred to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:38 a.m.

“An AR-15 type war weapon” was found in the café where the arrest took place, Mr. Van Leeuw said. There were a total of four searches after the attack and two people from the suspected shooter’s entourage were arrested for questioning.

Terrorist threat reduced to level 3

As of Monday evening, a video message of demand was posted on social networks by a man “presenting himself as the attacker and claiming to be inspired by the Islamic State”again according to the federal prosecutor’s office, responsible for terrorism cases.

The terrorist threat was then raised to level 4, the maximum level. The situation was considered ” very serious “. She was moved back to Level 3 on Tuesday after the suspect’s death.

On Wednesday the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, whose country is in shock, is expected in Brussels for a joint tribute with Alexander De Croo planned for the morning at Place Sainctelette, near the scene of the attack. “Never in recent history have Sweden and Swedish interests been as threatened as they are today”underlined Mr. Kristersson to the press in Stockholm.

Desecration of the Quran

In the suspect’s claim video, the Swedish nationality of the victims was mentioned as “probable motivation for the act”a link being established with the desecrations of the Koran in Sweden which moved the Muslim world, noted the Belgian authorities.

Read also: Attacks in Brussels: why is Sweden the target of terrorist threats?

Sweden had to raise its terrorist risk alert level to four on a scale of five on August 17 due to the tensions aroused by the Koran burnings that have occurred on its soil since the start of the year. The desecrations deteriorated relations with several Muslim countries, the Swedish embassy in Baghdad having been burned in July while a Molotov cocktail targeted the representation in Beirut in August.

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Belgium has already been the target of several attacks claimed by the Islamic State organization. The deadliest, which caused the death of 35 people, was perpetrated on March 22, 2016. That day, Brussels was hit by a double suicide attack at Zaventem airport and in the metro, right in the neighborhood European.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Brussels, the author of an attack that killed two Swedes died of his injuries after his arrest

The World with AFP

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