Police Claim 50 ISIS Sympathizers Worked at Brussels Airport

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Brussels airport is partially reopening today for the first time since it was hit by twin suicide bombs on March 22 in attacks that killed 35 people.

The airport reopening was delayed by a strike called by police officers who de3maqnded extra security measures. Specifically they requested checks at the main entrance to the departure lounge. Authorities feared this could create bottlenecks going into the airport.

A group of police officers wrote an open letter to the press criticizing alleged security failings at Zaventem airport. They alleged that 50 ISIS supporters are still working at the airport.

Some people suspected of having fought in Syria came to the airport as “false tourists”. We reported their presence but we do not know if anything was done with that information, the letter read according to the Daily Mail.

The officers complained about people who worked at the airport whom they allege celebrated the Paris attacks.

“When we checked these people, we were surprised more than once. It was men with a radical ideology and a long police history,’ they said.

‘Even today, there are at least 50 supporters of the Islamic state who work at the airport. They have a security badge and have access to the cockpit of a plane”

“In the past, a number of people had their badges revoked because they had IS sympathies. But clearly not everyone, especially in store personnel, cleaning services and baggage where we find the most suspicious people.”

The President of the largest police union in Belgium, Vincent Gilles, told the BBC that the letter represented the private feelings of a number of officers. He did not sign it and it was not endorsed by the Union because the information in the letter was based on rumors and conversations and had not been verified.

Two of the Brussels bombers, Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui worked at the airport as cleaning staff, according to their uncle who spoke to the Daily Mail.

This is not the first time there have been concerns over possible terrorism links of airport staff. In November 2015 Clarion Project reported that a review of all staff at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris, was ordered after it emerged that 57 staff members had been allowed to continue working despite their being on a terrorism watch list.

It is not possible to prevent every single terror plot. However, adequately screening people working at sensitive sites such as airports is an essential part of a robust counter-terror strategy.

With Brussels airport reopening it is hoped that staff at the airport will be properly vetted to minimize the risk of another attack.

For more information about the Islamic State see Clarion Project's Special Report: The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) 


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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org