El Bakraoui: Jambon blames liaison officer

During Friday afternoon’s joint meeting of the Justice, Interior and Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the Federal Parliament, the Interior Minister Jan Jambon (Flemish nationalist) said that it was a police liaison officer “blundered” with regard to the extradition of Ibrahim El Bakraoui.

"Someone within the police was at the very least negligent and not very pro-active in a case where you immediately get the feeling that it involves terrorism.

On Wednesday evening Mr Jambon drafted a timeline of Ibrahim El Bakraoui’s extradition from Turkey. According to the timeline, the liaison officer did “next to nothing” between 20 June when he learned of Mr El Bakraoui’s arrest and 14 July when Mr El Bakraoui was put on a plane to the Netherlands.

"I can’t reach another conclusion that that one individual and not an entire service or the bosses thereof was at the negligent, not very proactive or committed”, Mr Jambon said.

"El Bakraoui had been sentenced to ten years. Served a couple of years in prison before travelling via Turkey to the Syrian border. You don’t have to be an expert in terrorism to realise how big the chance is that he was a foreign fighter.”

Mr Jambon added that as Minister of the Interior and ultimately responsible for the police, he should take political responsibility for what had happened.

"Here one person within the police apparatus blundered. Based on this I offered the Prime Minister my resignation. After a long conversation, the Prime Minister ask me to consider withdrawing my resignation.