Attack in Antwerp

Attack in Antwerp

On the 23rd of March 2017, Belgian police arrested a man who drove through the main shopping street of Antwerp, Belgium in his station wagon, forcing shoppers to jump out of the way. The street is pedestrianized. The police arrested the man..

 

How did Belgian Police stop the “terrorist” attack?

On the 23rd of March 2017, Belgian police arrested a man who drove through the main shopping street of Antwerp, Belgium in his station wagon, forcing shoppers to jump out of the way. The street is pedestrianized.

The police arrested the man responsible who was found to be in possession of a shotgun, multiple knives and a canister containing an unknown liquid, presumably a flammable of some kind.

The police arrested the man near the docks and signaled for all the main areas to be closed.

Who was the individual behind the attack?

The man behind the planned attack was identified as a French national by the name of Mohammed R. His last name was not disclosed due to ongoing investigations into further attacks in the country.

He is a French passport holder and is a resident of France born on May 8th, 1977. He is of North African descent.

The attack takes place on the one year anniversary of the tragedy that took place in Brussels airport and the nearby central metro station in 2016. The attack took the lives of 35 men and women with the Islamic State claiming its orchestration. No links to ISIL have been found in this case.

How did police find and apprehend the perpetrator?

On Thursday, the 23rd, Authorities in Antwerp were alerted by a red car with French license plating driving through the crowded Le Meir street at the heart of the city. It is Belgium’s biggest shopping center. Police chased after the vehicle which ran through multiple red lights causing anarchy in the streets, as commuters and residents flung themselves out of the way. A response team followed the car less than a mile away from the street on the shores of the Scheldt River. He put up no resistance and was taken directly into police custody.

The Prime Minister Charles Michel, applauded the efforts of the police and said the investigation is still underway. Interior Minister Jan Jambon said Belgium was amid the threat of an ongoing radicalization at home and the growing number of individuals returning from the wars in Iraq and Syria were causing instability. Numbering around 500, Belgium is the European Union’s largest per capita source of so-called foreign jihadist fighters, but Jambon said none had left the country for the Middle East since January 2016.

Assessment

Europe has been through a tumultuous week of attacks with the proposed attack in Antwerp coming just hours after the heinous actions in London. The attackers however seem to be European nationals radicalized but the nature of their relationship with ISIL seems to have no basis for now. The attacks being deemed ‘terror’ attacks feeds into the desired effect of terrorism which is mainly propaganda and publicity. The media is aiding the cause of the group in some ways and by not branding the attackers ‘lone wolfs’; they open the door to anti-Islam sentiment and the blame being designated purely to them.  

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