Eleven Belgian nuclear workers have had their work passes revoked amid fears that the Brussels bombers were plotting to build a radiological dirty bomb. Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, the brothers suspected of suicide strikes on Brussels airport and Metro, are believed to have been involved in an Islamic State plan to create a bomb to scatter radioactive material over a populated area. A senior Belgian nuclear industry official was secretly filmed by jihadists late last year, according to the country’s nuclear authority. Yesterday the brothers were linked to the surveillance. An official at the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control told The Times: “When you start filming someone in the way they did, the logical conclusion is that they wanted to abduct that person and to obtain radioactive material .” A conspiracy to build a dirty bomb, with the aim of contaminating a crowded public space, was “the big question” faced by the authorities, the official added. About 140 soldiers were guarding Belgium’s two atomic power plants, a nuclear research facility and a company that makes medical isotopes, with two members of the terrorist cell behind Tuesday’s attacks at large last night.
Times 25th March 2016 read more »
Hours after suicide bombers struck a Brussels airport and metro station Tuesday, Belgian officials evacuated all nonessential workers from one of the country’s major nuclear facilities, Tihange. The head of Belgium’s nuclear regulatory agency had said that no direct threats to the plant existed, but that the move was “based on new information, and the events of today. Extra security measures were taken.” Yet new reports indicate that authorities knew of a plausible threat involving its nuclear infrastructure, based on intelligence gathered during raids prompted by the November 13 terrorist strike on Paris. After that operation — where one person was arrested.
New York Intelligencer 24th March 2016 read more »
The Belgian security services completed their background check in 2009 for a new inspector at the Doel nuclear power plant, about an hour’s drive from Brussels. Like other inspectors, Ilyass Boughalab had access to secure areas of the plant. He worked for three years as a nuclear technician before leaving for Syria in 2012. He was killed there two years later fighting on the side of the Islamic State terrorist group. As details continue to emerge about the recent terrorist attack in Belgium, one concern long on the minds of international leaders is the risk posed by weapons-usable material that could be fashioned into a dirty bomb or crude nuclear device — and the safety and security of the 440 nuclear power plants in 31 countries. Next week, President Obama and more than 50 world leaders — as well as business luminaries — will gather in Washington for a push to reduce the risk of the most dangerous materials falling into the wrong hands. It could not come at a better time.
USA Today 24h March 2016 read more »
Suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Brussels were originally considering an attack on a nuclear site in Belgium, but arrests started last week may have forced them to switch to targets in the Belgian capital, the DH newspaper said. Referring to an incident in December that prosecutors confirmed in which militants covertly filmed the home of an unidentified senior official in the nuclear industry, the paper quoted a police source as saying two of the suicide bombers, brothers Khalid and Ibrahim Bakraoui, had filmed the daily routine of the head of Belgium’s nuclear research and development program.
Reuters 24th March 2016 read more »
Independent 24th March 2016 read more »
Express 24th March 2016 read more »
Metro 24th March 2016 read more »
ITV 25th March 2016 read more »