Police in France are said to have foiled a planned terror attack on the Israeli Embassy in Brussels, French media has reported.
Four teenagers have been arrested in relation to the alleged plot.
According to Le Parisien, a 15-year-old of Algerian origin appeared to be the ringleader for the attack, with the youngster said to have run pro-Islamic State social media accounts on TikTok and Telegram.
Joined by two Russian nationals from Chechnya and Ingushetia, the teenager is described by French officials as having wanted to conduct a terrorist attack in order to gain “international recognition”, as well as the approval of ISIS.
Having looked at various possible targets in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, the cell is said to have settled on attacking the Israel Embassy in Brussels, with the teens gathering information on the embassy and those working alongside it.
The teens allegedly planned to use a van “packed with explosives” to bomb the site, with the plot said to have explicitly targeted civilians.
“We must not forget that our goal is to terrorise them, there must be as much blood as possible,” the 15-year-old allegedly wrote in a document outlining the plan.
“And our target is the Jews. Killing only police officers is not effective,” he added. “They know they can die on their job. But the people who work there think they live in security.”
A man identifying as a supporter of the Islamic State murdered two men and wounded another on Monday. The police shot the man dead on Tuesday morning. https://t.co/h1SHO4aGAe
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 17, 2023
Despite the alleged intentions of the teenagers, the plan never got beyond the planning stages thanks to intervention by the French police.
The boys are said to have initially drawn attention to themselves due to their activities in schools, with teachers said to have grown concerned about one of them launching collective prayer sessions during the day, as well as listening to Islamic nasheeds, a vocal practice popular throughout the Islamic world.
Police became more involved in the matter after some of the boys were found apparently testing explosives in a local park. Officers reportedly discovered two of the teenagers hidden behind a bush with hydrochloric acid and aluminium, two ingredients that can be used for improvised explosives.
While the pair allegedly tried to pass off their possession of the items as an attempt to make homemade fireworks, subsequent raids on their homes revealed the apparent extent of their radicalisation.
Three of the boys were then arrested by French police, with the 15-year-old ringleader said to have almost immediately come clean about the alleged planned attack.
The teen reportedly ended up thanking the police officers who arrested him, claiming that he had been a victim of radicalisation due to problems he was having in his own life.
“Through brainwashing, I found that it was an easy way out of all my problems,” the 15-year-old told officers regarding his Islamist activities.
“I had depressive tendencies and I told myself that at least my life would be over … I began to see ISIS as heroes.”
Another teenager who was allegedly involved in the planned attack was said to have been arrested by the Belgian police concerning a different plot.
Seven and a half years after the devastating Islamic terror attacks in the Belgian capital Brussels, the culprits finally know their punishment. https://t.co/onfUTvxGLQ
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 18, 2023