Brussels shooting: Suspect from Tunisia illegally living in Belgium
The suspect of the terrorist shooting in Brussels on Monday evening is a 45-year-old Tunisian man who is known to the police but was not on the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (OCAD) list. This list contains the names of potentially dangerous individuals monitored by the security services. Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne confirmed the information on Tuesday morning at a press conference after a meeting of the National Crisis Center.
In July 2016, a foreign police service provided unconfirmed information that the person concerned had a radicalised profile and wanted to leave for a conflict zone to participate in terrorist activities. "There were countless reports like that at the time, dozens of reports of that nature per day," said Van Quickenborne. "That information was then investigated, and nothing further could be done with it."
The suspect was known to the police for suspicious actions, human smuggling and illegal residence, among other things. He applied for asylum in Belgium in November 2019.
Earlier this year, he allegedly threatened a resident of an asylum centre via social media. The resident came forward and claimed the suspect had been convicted of terrorism in Tunisia.
The federal judicial police of Antwerp have planned a meeting on Tuesday to gather information about the case. It is now known that the man was not convicted for terrorism in Tunisia but for common law offences. Convening the meeting was a preventive action rather than a response to a specific threat."
© PHOTO JOHN THYS / AFP