Belgium's security struggle - one year after Brussels attacks

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By Euronews
Belgium's security struggle - one year after Brussels attacks

These are tough times for those countering terrorism in Europe, as the so called Islamic State changes its strategy. From Iraq and Syria, the war now moving to the EU.

The number of young radicalised people is increasing and some foreign fighters are returning.

Olivier’s son was 23 when he left Belgium for Syria, where he later died. For those who come back to Europe, Olivier says there needs to be reintegration programmes.

“It is delicate because we are afraid, because of the Brussels attacks, to take back people who are potentially dangerous,” he told Euronews.

“I bring the example of my son. If my son was still alive, what would I have done? I will have tried to help by all means.”

According to official figures, around 30 percent of foreign fighters who left Europe have returned. Of those, 119 are said to be in Belgium.

For security forces, it is a new phenomenon to deal with, but investigators insist they are prepared.

“We are ready about them coming back to react on that and to have a prevention,” explained one investigator, whose identity is protected.

“If they are coming by plane we are aware. If they are coming by foot, let’s say from Syria, it’s difficult. If they cross the border, we will see it. But normally we have operations, we are also checking this information. We are working on that. Never say never.”

Reporting from central Brussels, Euronews’ Elena Cavallone said: “But facing these new challenges of the fight against terrorism seems hard for Belgium, where in addition to the difficult exchanges of information with the intelligence of other countries, there is also a lack of coordination between internal security services, as denounced by the unions of the Federal Police.”

Striking police say they’re struggling to follow all leads, claiming they’re 5000 officers short of what they need.

“The national security plan is not fully staffed. This has an impact on the management of information,” said Eddy Quaino, a Federal Police union representative.

“We’re afraid about missing information coming from all European countries, and that’s available on the information crossroads, because of a lack of staff.”

One year on after the Brussels attacks it appears Belgium is still struggling to keep up with the ever-changing security threats.