(U.S. Embassy Brussels photo/Facebook)

Man Accused of Plotting Attack on U.S. Embassy in Brussels as ISIS Highlights Diplomatic Targets

Belgian police said today they arrested a man, identified by only one letter, for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack against the U.S. Embassy in Brussels.

“After several indications of a possible attack on the US Embassy, Mr. G. was arrested on Saturday by the anti-terrorist unit of the Brussels Federal Police,” Belgian prosecutors said in a statement. “He was brought before an investigating judge this morning.”

“At the end of the hearing, the suspect was placed under an arrest warrant for an attempted terrorist attack and for preparing a terrorist offense,” the statement continued. “He denies any involvement. In the interest of the investigation, no further details will be provided at this time.”

There have been no active security alerts issued by the U.S. Embassy in Brussels. In December, the State Department advised Americans traveling to Belgium to “exercise increased caution in Belgium due to terrorism” as “terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Belgium.”

“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas,” said the advisory.

Last year, the weekly official Islamic State newsletter Al-Naba discussed attacks on U.S. embassies and kidnapping westerners in locations not known to be hotbeds of ISIS activity.

In the March 2018 issue, ISIS first highlighted a foiled plot in Jordan in which terror operatives targeted Israeli businessmen making regular visits to a clothing factory as well as the U.S. Embassy in Amman. Jordanian authorities said the ISIS cell, which also reportedly had in its sights a church, nightclub, and other targets, was divided into three teams for surveillance, technical support, and the major attack.

ISIS stressed the importance of operations “in the heart of European capitals against the world’s most powerful intelligence services.”

Another news brief in that issue focused on an attack against the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. Just after midnight on Feb. 22, 2018, Serbian Dalibor Jauković threw a hand grenade at the embassy compound and then blew himself up. No responsibility was attributed to ISIS or any other terror group, but the ISIS report cited the U.S. Embassy’s security warning the morning after and the terror group noted how the attacker tossed an explosive “then blew his explosive belt.”

While not overtly calling for attacks, Al-Naba routinely fills its news brief section with food-for-thought for jihadists, such as highlighting the destruction caused by California wildfires as the terror group has separately called for arson attacks.

Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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