One Year After Brussels Attacks: Belgium, Europe Struggle with Challenges of Extremism

(New York, NY) – One year after the worst bombings in its modern history, Belgium and the rest of Europe continue to struggle with the complex challenges of terrorism and extremism, the Counter Extremist Project (CEP) said today in releasing a new report on preventing jihadist radicalization in Europe, as well as updated resources on extremism and counter-extremism in Belgium.

On the morning of March 22, 2016, two suicide bombers—former ISIS fighter Ibrahim el-Bakraoui and bomb-maker Najim Laachraoui—launched attacks at Zaventem airport, killing 16 people. An hour later, another suicide bomber—Ibrahim’s brother Khalid el-Bakraoui—struck the city’s metro system, killing 16 people at the Maelbeek station. The attacks—coming four days after Belgian authorities captured “Europe’s most wanted man,” Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam—propelled the country into a weeks-long manhunt for Brussels attack suspect Mohamed Abrini, who was arrested alongside several co-conspirators on April 8, 2016. More than 600 Belgians are estimated to have left or attempted to leave the country to serve as foreign fighters, making Belgium the largest producer of foreign fighters per capita in Europe.

Against the backdrop of the continuing complex and multi-layered challenge of extremism, CEP Brussels, the European Foundation for Democracy, and the European Policy Centre today released a new in-depth publication, The Challenge of Jihadist Radicalisation in Europe and Beyond. The report includes contributions from a number of prominent experts on the multiple dimensions of combating and preventing extremism, and provides in-depth analysis and policy recommendations.

To explore the new CEP Brussels report, The Challenge of Jihadist Radicalisation in Europe and Beyond, please click here.

To explore the CEP report, Belgium: Extremism and Counter-Extremism, please click here.

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On September 17, 2019, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated outside a Presidential rally in Charikar, Afghanistan, killing at least 26 people and injuring another 30. Later, a suicide bomber detonated outside the Ministry of Defense in Kabul, killing 22 and wounding 38 others. The Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks. 

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