Belgian authorities knew the Brussels airport and subway attacks were coming, yet did nothing to prevent the horrific bloodbath that killed at least 31 people and injured 270, according to a report from the Israeli Haaretz.
The advance warning was useless because Brussels was not prepared to handle the alert, despite being home to most of the agencies of the European Union, the report said.
The terrorist cell responsible for the latest attack is closely allied to the killers who pulled off the devastating Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, the report said. Both were led by Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested Friday by Belgian authorities after hiding in Brussels for four months. He is due to appear in court tomorrow.
Reports that Abdeslam was cooperating with security forces apparently compelled ISIS to accelerate is plan to attack Brussels before it was compromised.
Turkey revealed today that it had arrested one of the Brussels attackers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, and deported him last summer.
“One of the Brussels attackers was detained in Gaziantep [in southern Turkey] and then deported” to the Netherlands, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, adding that Turkey warned both Belgium and the Netherlands that Ibrahim was a “foreign terrorist fighter” on July 14.
Dutch authorities said they had to release Ibrahim because Belgian authorities could not establish any ties to terrorism, an official in the Turkish president’s office said.
Authorities also announced they had discovered a cache of explosives in a house and a will from Ibrahim, one of two brothers identified in the Brussels airport attacks. The other brother was Khalid El Bakraoui. Both had extensive criminal records but had not been on watch lists as potential terror threats.
Belgium remains on high alert, with the airport closed until at least Saturday.