Asylum Seeker Shoots People Using Assault Rifle in Terrorist Attack in Brussels

Terrorist Abdesalem Lassoued loading his assault rifle before moving (Screen capture from RadioGenoa / Twitter)

A terrorist claimed to be linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization shot and killed two Swedish individuals in downtown Brussels last night after a football match. By Tuesday morning the assailant was reported to be shot by authorities and his weapon, an AK-47 found, as well. Belgium has been trying to keep up with the influx of immigrants in both the fields of law enforcement and legal instruments but the situation looks dire.

A gunman who killed two Swedish football fans in a terror attack in Brussels has been shot dead after 12 hours on the run, Belgium’s interior ministry said on Tuesday.

He was shot in the chest during a stop-and-search in a cafe as authorities searched Belgium’s capital.

Annelies Verlinden, the interior minister, said the terrorist died on the way to hospital in an ambulance. She said authorities were working to formally identify him through fingerprints.

Belgian police found the automatic rifle used in the attack on the suspect, she added.

The Brussels Gunman Identified: An Asylum Seeker Whose Application Failed

The gunman was named on Monday night as Abdesalem Lassoued, 45, from Tunisia, a failed asylum seeker who had been living illegally in the Schaerbeek area of the Belgian capital.

Eric Van Duyse, a spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office, said the investigation was focused on “a possible terrorist motivation for the shooting” after “a claim of responsibility was posted on social media”.

This person claims to be inspired by Islamic State,” Van Duyse said. “The Swedish nationality of the victims was put forward as the probable motive.”

Belgian Government Criticized From Both Sides

In an article about the threat terrorism poses to Belgium, The Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a nonprofit and non-partisan international policy organization working to combat the growing threat posed by extremist ideologies points out that Belgian authoritities have been trying to be more effective concerning the issue.

In early 2017, the Belgian parliament passed a law empowering the government to deport legal foreign residents suspected of engaging in terrorism, without criminal charge or a judicial ruling. Civil rights groups have contested the law as a threat to civil liberties.

Human Rights Watch has accused the Belgian government of “abusive” new policies that overstep its authority. In March 2018, the Belgian government began discussing a proposed law to allow police to raid immigrants’ homes and deport people whose asylum requests had been denied. Belgian citizens reportedly shelter 500 illegal immigrants each night. Prime Minister at the time Charles Michel called the proposed law “a matter of public order and security.”

Belgium has historically tended to lean on law enforcement instruments less, seeking to instead address terrorism’s “root causes” to combat the threat without unnecessarily stigmatizing the Muslim community.

One anonymous official has admitted that the police is stretched too thin to adequately address the terrorist threat.

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