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Belgium: Terror Plotters Sentenced to 13 Years for Targeting Antwerp Mayor De Wever

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Elias E.A., a 21-year-old from Antwerp, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for leading a terror group that planned to assassinate Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) last year. Four co-defendants also received substantial sentences.

The attack was only thwarted by the timely intervention of the security services,” stated the Antwerp court in its verdict.

Elias E.A. came to the attention of the federal judicial police last year when it was discovered that he was using the alias ‘Ilias_al_Belgiki’ on social media to spread propaganda for the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS).

The police quickly identified a group surrounding him. During the investigation, it became apparent that E.A. not only disseminated Salafist jihadist ideology but also intended to carry out an attack.

He spoke of “fighting the dogs” and considered attacking the police or a police station.

Concrete Plans to Assassinate Antwerp Mayor De Wever

The most concrete plans involved the assassination of Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever.

E.A. sought to acquire a war weapon of the type AK-47 and two magazines with fifty bullets each. This search accelerated at the end of March 2023.

An undercover police officer, using the messaging service Telegram, made contact with E.A., who discussed the weapons he was seeking and even sent a photo of De Wever.

The murder was to take place after Ramadan, in mid-April 2023.

Due to the concrete nature of these plans, the police intervened.

Following house searches, six suspects—five men and one woman—were brought before the court.

Religious Inspirer

The investigation has unequivocally shown that the main suspect had advanced plans to carry out an attack on Bart De Wever and on an as-yet-undetermined police station,” the judge said in the verdict, as cited by VRT Nws.

The 21-year-old E.A. was seen as the leader of the terrorist group. According to the judge, he wanted to “disrupt the political foundations of the country and instill severe fear among the population.”

He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, fined €16,000, and stripped of his civil rights for 10 years.

Four others received prison sentences ranging from 7 to 13 years, along with fines of €8,000 or €16,000. They too were stripped of their civil rights for several years.

They provided the 21-year-old ringleader with “material and moral support to execute his terrorist plan,” according to the judge.

Among them were E.A.’s wife, Vanessa B. (24) from Molenbeek, and Harun C. (36) from Antwerp. Harun C. was not only a former colleague of E.A. at a cleaning company but also the “religious inspirer” of the terror group leader.

Serious Disruption of Society

All were part of a terrorist group that aimed to seriously disrupt society by attacking a nationally significant politician and a police station. “Both are symbols of our society and public order. It is clear that their advanced plans and aversion to Belgian society indicate an extremely dangerous mindset,” stated the judge.

EU Briefs publie des articles provenant de diverses sources extérieures qui expriment un large éventail de points de vue. Les positions prises dans ces articles ne sont pas nécessairement celles d'EU Briefs.

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