Brussels attacks highlight how Belgium became hub of Islamist terror

What was extraordinary was that the main terror suspect in the Paris attacks did not do very far

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The Independent Online

Isis has now claimed responsibility for the Brussels terror attacks in which at least 30 people have been killed and scores more injured.

But although the so-called Islamic State means Syria is the current focus for so many people, we shouldn’t think that Syria is the only source of terrorism. 

Belgium has become the hub of Islamist terror groups. 

Most of them are of a North African background; they come from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and a huge number have gone and fought in Syria, a lot of them with Isis. 

How many terror cells are there? We don’t know how many. 

There has obviously been a failure of intelligence in France and there has not been adequate liaison.

People say that if we leave the EU, then the terror threat will grow. But we can see the two countries side by side with a lack of intelligence being shared.

As far as the UK is concerned there is supposed to be around 800 British jihadists who have gone to fight in Syria. A number of them will fight for Isis when they come back to the UK.

We have had up to 4,000 people who have gone to terror training camps.

What is extraordinary is that the main terror suspect in the Paris attacks did not do very far, he did not flee he stayed in Belgium - right next door. 

The Belgiums have said they were looking for five or six terror cells, but is a very fluid number.

Of course some were killed in the Paris attacks. Belgium is the hub of European terror and there has been a large turn towards that because we’ve seen things like Molenbeek. Because Belgium is so central, they can travel to other countries and carry out attacks there.

We don’t know the numbers of terrorists for sure, from the UK is it around 800. Belgium sends the largest number of people to Syria, per head of population.