Belgium admits its mistake by not heeding Turkey's warnings

Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon says his country 'made a mistake' by not heeding Turkey’s warnings about Brussels bomber Ibrahim El Bakraoui being 'foreign terrorist fighter'

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Broken windows of the terminal at Brussels national airport are seen during a ceremony following bomb attacks in Brussels metro and Belgium's National airport of Zaventem, Belgium, March 23, 2016.

Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon on Friday said his country "made a mistake" by not heeding Turkey's warnings about Brussels metro station suicide bomber Ibrahim El Bakraoui being a foreign terrorist fighter.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed on Wednesday that one of the attackers behind the Brussels suicide bombings was deported last June from Turkey and Belgium was warned that he was a DAESH terrorist. 

Jambon addressed the Belgian federal parliament with Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and Justice Minister Koens Geens over questions raised by an investigative committee on the ministers’ alleged neglect related to Tuesday’s Brussels bombings, which killed 31 people and injured 260.

"I cannot reach any other conclusion than one person acting negligent rather than the entire [police] organisation," Jambon said on Friday.

"Someone within the police organisation was negligent and was not proactive on an issue where we could have detected terrorism."

"It doesn’t require a terrorist expert to realize that he [Bakraoui] was a foreign fighter," Jambon added.

Belgium's Interior Minister Jan Jambon addresses a news conference in Brussels, February 23, 2016.

CNN also reported on Friday, citing a US official, one of Brussels bomber, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, was on US watch list before Paris attacks and his brother Khalid was put on the list shortly afterwards.

Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the suicide bombers who carried out the attacks on Tuesday, is pictured in Gaziantep, Turkey, in 2015 in this image made available March 24, 2016 by Haberturk newspaper.

Jambon and Geens offered their respective resignations – rejected by Prime Minister Charles Michel – after reports emerged that Belgium had been warned about one of the suicide bombers.

A day after the blasts at an airport and metro station in Brussels, Turkish diplomatic sources revealed that suicide bomber Ibrahim El Bakraoui had been deported from Turkey last June after being arrested near the Syrian border.

TRTWorld, AA