Belgian anti-terror units are raiding Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, the densely populated suburb of Brussels which has been described as Europe’s “jihadi capital”.
According to MailOnline the area was on “lockdown” on Saturday, with raids concentrated on the Rue Delaunoy.
This is the same street where Salah Abdeslam, mastermind of the mass-casualty Paris terror attacks, once lived.
The Belgian authorities had to implement a similar lockdown in 2016 after Brussels was rocked by a series of blasts which killed 33 and injured over 300, with a heavy armed forces presence creating the appearance of a city under military occupation.
Molenbeek has played host to a number of high-profile Islamists besides Abdeslam, including the perpetrators of the Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people and wounded 1,841, and Mehdi Nemmouche, who shot and killed four people in the Jewish Museum of Belgium in 2014.
The area’s terror links are so persistent and extensive that commentators have dubbed it “The Islamic State of Molenbeek”.
Céline Praille, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, confirmed on RTL radio that “Several raids are being carried out as part of an investigation into terrorist activities.”
Another spokeswoman, Ine Van Wymersch, claims “The operation has ended. Nothing was found, no weapons, no explosives” – although three people have been detained.
Henry Bolton OBE, former head of the Borders Unit at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), told Breitbart London that terror activities in Molenbeek pose as great a risk to British nationals as they do to Belgians, as long as the UK remains within the European Union (EU) and its Single Market.
“Freedom of movement within the EU means that a terrorist in Molenbeek is as much of a problem for Britain as it is for Belgium,” he said. “Anis Amri demonstrated this quite clearly in his movements after his attack in Berlin.”
“The EU’s policies have enabled terrorists to reach the UK’s front door and unfortunately that front door is not secure. Checks on EU identity documents at UK Borders are minimal. Most travellers from the EU are simply waved through, including criminals and potential terrorists.”