According to Pieter Van Ostaeyen, a Belgian terrorism expert, the European capital will not be a safe place to celebrate the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s festivities.
Van Ostaeyen, a former editorial board member of the International Center for Counter-Terrorism and a scholar in Arabic and Islamic Studies, noted in Dutch newspaper HLN that he was not expecting a “new” wave of terror; it was not new, as such a wave was already breaking.
The comments came after a tourist was killed in Paris, close to the Eiffel Tower on the evening of December 2. Two other men were wounded.
According to various media outlets including Le Parisien, the culprit used a kitchen knife and a hammer and was reportedly a French-Iranian man who is understood to be suspected of supporting radical Islamism.
The assault was the most recent in a rash of attacks in the EU, including the stabbing of three young children in Ireland in November, the murder of a teacher in a school in northern France and a terror attack where two Swedes were killed by an Islamist in Brussels, both in October.
“It is very realistic to say that more will follow,” Van Ostaeyen claimed. “Therefore, I also think it is very good that the OCAD [the Coordination Body for Threat Assessment] has updated the threat level to 3.”
According to the Belgian, the latest outrage in Paris will inspire other extremist “copycats”.
“Also, with what is happening now in Gaza, you can be sure that more attacks will follow,” he said.
“Mass gatherings are prime targets in this regard. I just discussed with my girlfriend where we are going to spend New Year’s Eve and I can tell you one thing: the centre of Brussels we are definitely not going to visit.”