Young salafists planned to destroy the Eiffel Tower in an attack. (Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)


Belgian ‘terror teens’ also wanted to ‘blow up the Eiffel Tower’


Three Belgian teenagers who allegedly planned to attack a Brussels concert hall are also being accused of scheming to destroy the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

In early March, the trio and an adult were arrested as terror suspects linked to Islamist extremism. Later, a number of other apparently radicalised teens in France and allegedly connected to the Belgian case were also arrested.

The Belgian youngsters were, according to the police, planning to set a date and were allegedly considering a strike on the Botanique, a well-known Brussels city concert hall.

According to police, further interrogations of the teenagers, who were all connected via an app in a chatgroup called “Dawlatal Islam Baqiyah”, which means “The Islamic State will continue”, revealed they also contemplated destroying the Eiffel Tower.

“Some were talking about meeting in Paris. They were talking about putting explosives at the foot of the Eiffel Tower so that it would collapse,” an unnamed source told Belgian news outlet RTL Info.

“There was one who always talked about a suicide attack with ramming trucks. It was the Frenchman who always talked about this kind of attack,” the source claimed.

These apparent disclosures suggest considerably more intricate plans than those previously considered.

RTL infos added that one of the alleged attackers’ planning sessions was held on March 1 with the goal of acting on March 4, a Monday.

On the morning of March 3, the police considered specific details regarding an imminent act. Shortly after that, the Directorate of Special Units, the tactical unit of the Belgian Federal Police or DSU, moved in and made the arrests.

The teens knew each other online but had no real-life, personal relationship to speak of, it is claimed. They were only connected in cyberspace via their alleged radical beliefs.

According to RTL infos, that is not uncommon in such groups of marginalised youngsters, most out of school and having few positive future prospects. Radical groups offer them a sense of belonging.

The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office is still working to identify some of the active individuals in the jihadist group, the outlet reported.

Throughout the police searches, though, it said neither weapons nor explosives were uncovered.

These preliminary actions signified the commencement of a terrorist plot, as previously discussed among the accused themselves and broadcast on social media platforms, RTL infos said.

As they allegedly talked about such acts of violence and were, it is claimed, looking to buy weapons on the so-called Dark Web, a part of the internet not visible to search engines, the police decided to move in.

In December 2023, a radicalised Islamist executed a terror attack near the Eiffel Tower with a knife and a hammer. In that incident, one person was killed and another two seriously injured. French prosecutors opened an investigation, France 24 said.