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Belgium Believes More IS Recruits to Return to Europe


Belgian police secure an area during a search in Etterbeek, Brussels, Belgium, April 9, 2016. Police raids continue following the Brussels bombings on March 22 where at least 31 people were killed and hundreds injured in bomb explosions.

Belgian police secure an area during a search in Etterbeek, Brussels, Belgium, April 9, 2016. Police raids continue following the Brussels bombings on March 22 where at least 31 people were killed and hundreds injured in bomb explosions.


Officials in Belgium say they have evidence that members of the Islamic State group are looking to return to Europe.

The Associated Press reports that names are added almost daily to the list of the Islamic State attackers that killed 130 people in Paris and 32 in Brussels. The list of their supporters is also growing.

Paul Van Tigchelt is the head of the Belgian government’s crisis center. He said intelligence shows foreign terrorist fighters in Syria want to return “not just to Belgium, but to Europe to carry out an attack.”

Patrick Skinner, a former case officer for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, told the AP that the Brussels-Paris IS network is a “supercell.”

“This is a highly functioning cell,” he said. “You’re looking at 50 people (in this group).” He added that an extremist cell usually has six to 10 members.

Skinner is now with the Soufan Group, a security advisory business.

Two terror attacks have taken place in Europe during the past six months. Ten men were known to be involved in the Paris attacks on November 13, 2015.

On March 22, three attackers carried out suicide bombings in Belgium. Two of the bombs exploded at a Brussels airport. The third bombing was at a train station.

A fourth bomber, Mohamed Abrini, could not explode his bomb and was arrested in Brussels on April 8.

I’m Jim Dresbach.

VOA’s Esha Sarai reported this story. Jim Dresbach adapted the report for Learning English. Additional information came from the Associated Press. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

network n. a group of people or organizations that are closely connected and that work with each other

supercelln. a large group of people who work together secretly as part of a larger organization or group

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