(New York, NY) – The deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium’s history took place on the morning of March 22, 2016 in Brussels. Former ISIS fighter Ibrahim el-Bakraoui and bomb-maker Najim Laachraoui—launched attacks at Zaventem airport, killing 16 people. An hour later, another suicide bomber—Ibrahim’s brother Khalid el-Bakraoui—detonated explosives at the Maelbeek station, killing 16 people. A third airport bomb failed to explode, leading to a weeks-long manhunt for suspect Mohamed Abrini, who was arrested on April 8, 2016.
While no large-scale attacks have occurred since, the threat from large numbers of battle-hardened foreign fighters re-entering the country, the problem of prison radicalization, and the availability of radicalizing ISIS propaganda online continues to pose a challenge to security official in Belgium. As many as 600 people left Belgium to fight for ISIS in Iraq and Syria, making Belgium the largest producer of foreign fighters per capita in Europe.