Brussels attacks: A look at Molenbeek, the small Belgian suburb home to some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists

Four days after the last remaining suspect in the Paris terror attacks was arrested in Molenbeek, terror strikes just two miles away in Maelbeek.

Ryan Ramgobin@ryanramgobin
Tuesday 22 March 2016 18:19
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A look at Molenbeek, the small Belgian suburb home to some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists

For the second time in four months, Brussels is invovled in a terrorist attack in Europe.

A wave of bombings has killed at least 30 people across the city – just four days after it celebrated the arrest of the most-wanted man in Europe, Salah Abdeslam.

Abdeslam is alleged to have taken part in November's Isis-inspired terror attacks in Paris which killed 130 people.

It is believed there could be a connection between his arrest and the attacks in Brussels, which Isis has claimed responsibility for.

Raffaello Pantucci, an international security expert for the Royal United Services Institute said: "When Abdeslam gets arrested, you will have the network around him all starting to panic.

"If you have problems building up, or people thinking about doing stuff, they might accelerate any planned attacks.

"You are concerned about what might get exposed and the last thing you want to do is get captured.”

Abdeslam was captured in the suburb he grew up in - Molenbeek; a district now considered being a “hotbed of jihadism”. It is believed that he hid in plain sight for five months managing to evade the world’s police.

Paris attackers Brahim Abdeslam and Abdelhamid Abaaoud also had links to the district.

In the aftermath of November’s attacks, The Independent spoke to Malika Sassi, a friend of the Abdeslam family, about how these young men became radicalised.

She was shocked by events and believed Molenbeek was not responsible for their radicalisation.

“His mother told me yesterday how lovely he [Salah] was. He didn’t even have a violent personality at home. A lovely, lovely boy, who plays with his mother and kisses her every day.

“Her children lived a double life – a life they were indoctrinated into.”

However, jihadists operating in the area have been linked to at least four terrorist attacks in the last two years.

High unemployment and a lack of identity are being blamed for this rise in extremism.

Molenbeek will now face further scrutiny following the suicide bombing at Maelbeek metro station, located just two miles away.

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