"Verviers terrorists targeted Brussels Airport"

The judge presiding in the case against defendants facing charges in connection with the Verviers terrorist cell that was dismantled by Belgian police says that Brussels Airport was one of the outfit's targets. The judge made the observation as he read out the verdict to a packed courtroom.

The cell was dismantled in January 2015 when two suspects were shot dead. Surviving defendants faced an array of charges. The defendants include 16 people, nine of whom are on the run. Imposing sentences of between 16 and 8 years on four people the court ruled that four of the defendants could be considered to be leaders of a jihadist network.

The judge told the court there was no doubt that the cell planned an attack and wanted to make as many victims as possible. Brussels Airport was a target for Abdelhamid Abaaoud and the members of the Verviers cell. In this respect the judge pointed to a sketch and the many arms and munition recovered as well as the links between defendants and Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the terrorist who planned the Paris attacks and who served as a go-between between the Verviers cell and IS in Syria.