"Belgium to go it alone if need be"

Belgian Home Minister Jan Jambon has said that Belgium will go it alone if its European partners shy away from systematic checks on passenger information in the fight against terrorism.

The matter is up for discussion at a meeting in Riga, Latvia, at the end of this month. All countries confronted with jihadi fighters returning from Syria have backed plans for systematic checks but the European Parliament has raised several objections.

Mr Jambon hopes a European agreement can be reached, but says that otherwise countries will have to seek bilateral solutions. The Belgian Home Minister recently visited the UK to learn more about suspect profiling in London.

Jan Jambon: "Terrorists display certain characteristics e.g. the booking of air tickets far in advance. The Britons use these characteristics to identify suspects from passenger information on planes, international trains and buses."

The results are impressive:

"Ten people were identified. Two turned out to be real suspects" said Jan Jambon.

 

Meanwhile the eastern city of Liege has asked for the deployment of members of the armed forces in response to the terrorist threat. Some 300 Belgian military will soon be deployed across the country. Troops can only be deployed under a level three alert, but the Mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever, has already spoken of deployment on a permanent basis.