Belgium investigates a former soldier already detained for terrorist threats against the prime minister | International
Belgian justice has opened this Friday an investigation for a terrorist threat against a former soldier who published a video on social networks in which he is seen shooting several times against a photograph of the country's prime minister, Alexander de Croo. The man, whose motives are unknown at the moment, but who apparently suffered from psychological problems, has been arrested in Norway, according to Belgian media.
The alarms went off when, on Friday morning, the security services identified a video on social networks in which a young man, armed with what appears to be a pistol with a silencer, records with his mobile phone in a forest how he shoots up to four times against a photograph of De Croo and then shows the bullet holes in the prime minister's image. In the recording, broadcast by various Belgian media, the man can be heard saying, in English, that he has left the army and has to "hide from the military", revealing that he was in Norway.
Despite the fact that De Croo has assured the Belgian media that he is not concerned, his security has been reinforced and the judicial authorities have taken the threat very seriously. As announced by the Federal Prosecutor's Office, the case, initially in the hands of the public prosecutor's office in Limburg, where the suspect lived, has been entrusted to a Brussels investigating judge specializing in terrorism.
"The individual, born in 1993, is a former soldier who recently left the Army," the Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. "Some of his statements are threats against the Belgian prime minister and/or members of the government," he added about the decision to open a terrorist threat investigation.
The police have registered this Friday the suspect's home in Bourg-Léopold, in the Flemish province of Limburg. Out of "precaution", the operation was supported by a team of deminers, while a "broad perimeter" was established around the house. But this one was empty. "He would have recently left the country," according to a statement from the federal prosecutor's office. Already in the afternoon, it was confirmed that he had been arrested in Norway.
Although the identity has not been revealed, the RTBF station assures that it is Sam H., a 29-year-old man who was discharged from the army last month, apparently after showing psychological problems for at least a year before. Although he was not on the radar of the authorities for terrorist reasons, he was known by the security services for his relationship with a motorcycle gang with a criminal record, according to the chain.
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The case comes to light just a few months after, at the end of last year, the Minister of Justice, Vincent van Quickenborne, had to go into hiding for several weeks with his family after receiving threats from drug traffickers. Two years ago, the country followed with anguish the case of the far-right and anti-vaxxer soldier Jürgen Conings, who fled from his barracks in the spring of 2021 armed with a pistol and a rocket launcher. The extremist, who had threatened a well-known virologist, was the subject of an intense police search that ended when his body was found a month later in a wooded area also in Limburg, where he killed himself with a gun.
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