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Belgium ministers offer to resign over deadly bombings

24 March 2016 16:33



Belgium’s interior and justice ministers have offered to resign due to their failure to track a Daesh Takfiri militant who blew himself up at Brussels airport on Tuesday. 

Belgian media reports said on Thursday that Interior Minister Jan Jambon and Justice Minister Koen Geens, under fire for intelligence failures linked to this week’s triple attacks in Brussels, offered their resignations which were turned down by Prime Minister Charles Michel.

“I confirm I tendered my resignation,” Interior Minister Jambon was quoted as telling Le Soir newspaper, adding, “(Justice Minister Koen) Geens too. They were refused.”

The explosions ripped through the international departure hall of the airport in Zaventem, near the American Airlines check-in desk and near a coffee shop. An hour after the airport bombings, another bomb went off at a metro station, 10 kilometers away.

Belgian authorities are facing embarrassment after it emerged that the three bombers who left 31 dead and 300 injured in the attacks at the airport and on Maelbeek metro station were known to police.

This came after Turkey said it twice deported Ibrahim al-Bakrawi, one of the identified bombers, last year. Ankara said Belgium ignored Turkey’s warning that Bakrawi was a militant.

The attacks also happened at a time when Bakraoui was on parole and barely half-way through a 9-year sentence for armed robbery.

The Belgian interior minister has accepted responsibility for the mishandling of the case.

“You can ask how it came about that someone was let out so early and that we missed the chance to seize him when he was in Turkey. I understand the questions,” Jambon said, adding, “In the circumstances, it was right to take political responsibility.”

Belgium is observing three days of mourning over the carnage. A minute of silence was also observed for the victims on Thursday

Meanwhile, speaking the country’s federal and regional parliaments on the third and final day of mourning, Premier Michel said “the government and the authorities in charge will do absolutely everything to shed light on the attacks.”

The bombings in Brussels have also led to intensified security measures elsewhere across Europe.

A number of intelligence officials have said that Daesh has a network of semi-autonomous interlocking terror cells comprised of more than 400 Takfiri terrorists trained and prepared to target European cities.

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