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The intelligence failures around suicide bomber Ibrahim El Bakraoui

Written question No. 705 to the Committee of Ministers | Doc. 14059 | 04 May 2016

Question from
Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands, EPP/CD

On 22 March 2016, three suicide bomber attacks from Daesh caused 32 civilians casualties and wounded more than 300 people in Brussels. Ibrahim El Bakraoui was one of the suicide bombers. In 2010 he had been convicted to 10 years imprisonment in Belgium for armed robbery and severely wounding a police agent. He failed to abide by the conditions of his parole.

In June 2015 the Turkish police arrested him as a suspected Daesh terrorist. In July 2015 he was deported to the Netherlands. The Turkish authorities only informed the Dutch authorities by an electronic message while he was being deported. Mr. El Bakraoui was not handed over to the Dutch or Belgian police and nobody arrested him or questioned him. In the meantime even the New York Police Department Intelligence Division & Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned the Dutch and Belgium authorities how dangerous he was.

The Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey are all members of the anti-Daesh coalition and Turkey and the Netherlands are even co-chairs of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and co-chairs of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters working groups in both the GCTF and the anti-Daesh coalition. These countries should be leading co-operation on combating foreign terrorist fighters.

Mr Omtzigt

To ask the Committee of Ministers:

1 Which mistakes were made in information sharing on Mr Ibrahim El Bakraoui between Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands, which lessons have been learned from this episode and how are they implemented?
2 Should people who are arrested on suspicion of being foreign terrorist fighters always be directly handed over to the police on arrival when they are deported from one Council of Europe member State to another?