The FBI notified the Netherlands about its concerns over suicide bombers Ibrahim El Bakraoui and his brother Khalid six days before the Brussels attacks, the Dutch justice minister revealed Tuesday.
Dutch officials the next day passed on to Belgium the information provided by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which had placed Ibrahim El Bakraoui on a terror watchlist in September 2015.
Answering questions in the Dutch parliament, the minister Ard van der Steur said Dutch police had received an FBI report sent March 16 “in which there was notification of Ibrahim El Bakraoui and his brother Khalid’s criminal backgrounds and Khalid’s terrorist background.”
The following day “the issue came up during bilateral contact between the Dutch and Belgian police,” said Van der Steur. “The radical background of both the brothers was discussed.”
He also confirmed US reports about Ibrahim being on a US terror list, saying he “was placed on an American surveillance list on September 25, 2015, a list made by the FBI terrorist screening center.”
Ibrahim El Bakraoui was one of two bombers who blew themselves up at Brussels airport on March 22. His brother Khalid blew himself up at Maalbeek metro station.
The Dutch minister’s revelations come as under-fire Belgian authorities Tuesday continued to hunt for a fugitive bomber, one week after the deadly blasts in the Belgian capital that killed 32.
Belgium’s federal police service however said it had not received any information direct from the FBI on March 16 about the Bakraoui brothers.
In the meeting between Dutch and Belgian police the next day, it said there was “no mention of the message that the FBI sent to the Dutch police”.
Instead it said they discussed a police raid in Brussels on March 15 in which an Algerian militant with links to Paris attacks prime suspect Salah Abdeslam was captured. Khalid El Bakraoui is believed to have rented the flat where the raid took place using a false name.
Under pressure at home and abroad over an apparent series of missed clues about criminals linked to jihadist networks, the Belgian government has admitted mistakes were made.
In the most glaring such example, Turkey accused Belgium last week of ignoring a clear and present danger by revealing it had deported Ibrahim El Bakraoui as a “terrorist” suspect last year, after arresting him near the Syrian border.
The Dutch justice minister last week confirmed that Turkey sent Bakraoui back to the Netherlands in July, but stressed he had not been known to Dutch law enforcement or been on any watch lists.
It was not known how long Bakraoui stayed in the Netherlands before returning to Belgium, Van der Steur said.
‘Our democracy is what’s at stake’: Pelosi shreds Trump in blistering endorsement of impeachment
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday endorsed drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump and made the case that the president's actions made him a threat to American democracy.
During her address, Pelosi explained that the stakes in impeaching Trump were the very foundations of American government.
"Our democracy is at stake," she said. "The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit."
Watch the video below.
"Our democracy is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit ... Today, I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment." pic.twitter.com/5hBqfLMeoU
InfoWars made up lies about Islamic community to help Alex Jones generate more traffic: former writer
On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Josh Owens, a former staffer at the fringe conspiracy theory site InfoWars, admitted that his team knowingly promoted fake stories about Islamberg, a rural religious community founded by mostly Black Muslims from New York City on the border between New York and Pennsylvania.
According to Owens, InfoWars initially conducted interviews with people near the community, hoping that they would tell horror stories about a group of militants hellbent on enslaving America under Sharia law. Instead, locals described the people of Islamberg as "kind, generous neighbors." This wasn't a story Alex Jones would have been able to sell to his far-right conspiracy theorist audience — so, Owens said, his team decided to just lie.
‘A president the world is laughing at’: Biden releases new ad attacking Trump — and it’s getting widely praised
Former Vice President Joe Biden, still the Democratic frontrunner, Wednesday night released an ad that has many people talking – it's already been viewed 5.4 million times – and it's getting praise from even non-Biden supporters.
The ad uses footage from the viral video of world leaders at NATO mocking President Donald Trump – a video that upset the American president so greatly he left London early, canceling a press conference and bilateral meeting, to head back to D.C.