Belgian federal prosecutor fears an imminent attack
:: Several suspects are still wanted within the framework of a terrorism case that led on Wednesday to a series of searches in Anderlecht, a neighbourhood of Brussels.
“We can’t exclude a similar scenario as the one of March 22, 2016 Brussels attacks, but for the moment we have no element that goes into that sense of this hypothesis,” said the Prosecutor to Belga, the Belgian press agency.
One day after the searches that led to the arrest of the brothers Saouti, Akim and Khalid, Eric Van der Sijpt the spokesman of the Federal Prosecutor said this morning “We are still looking for several suspects after the raids of last night. We fear that (the suspects) feel cornered after the searches. We fear that they have the same reaction as the March 22, 2016 (Date of the Brussels attacks)”.
On Wednesday, six searches were conducted in Anderlecht in houses and garage boxes. In one of the boxes, weapons have been found. The investigators found three kalashnikovs, around 15 kalashnikov chargers, a riot gun, three handguns, and munitions. They also found two radios, two bulletproof vests, one revolving light, a security agent uniform, two police uniforms, one civil protection uniform and four detonators.
Following the searches, two men were put under arrest warrant. These two men are the brothers, Akim Saouti (40) and Khalid Saouti (37). They are both of Belgian nationality.
They were charged with participating in the activities of a terrorist group.
The Saouti brothers were recently spotted by the counterterrorism cell of the Federal Criminal Investigation Police of Brussels. The two men seemed to be radicalized and, according to the investigation, they could possibly have planned a terrorist attack with other suspects.
According to a source close to the investigation, one of the wanted suspects is Mohamed Saouti, the brother of Akim and Khalid.
A family already well known
Akim and Khalid Saouti are the brothers of Saïd Saouti, the founder of the ‘Kamikaze Riders’, a motorcycle club. Several members of the club had links with the radical group ‘Sharia4Belgium’.
On December 27, 2015, Saïd Saouti and Mohamed Karay, also member of the Kamikaze Riders, were arrested in Anderlecht.
The Federal Prosecutor had at that time serious clues that the two men were planning terrorist attacks like the Paris attacks.
In October 2016, Saïd Saouti and Mohamed Karay were charged before the Criminal Court for participating in the activities of a terrorist group. Saïd Saouti was convicted of participation in the activities of a terrorist group and Mohamed Karay for attempting to participate in the activities of a terrorist group.
The first was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment and the second to three years’ with partial probation.