Brussels cell ‘was plotting radioactive bomb attack’

From the Telegraph and The Times

11 Belgian workers at Tihange nuclear station had their passes revoked amid fears that they had been compromised, as it emerged that suicide bombers Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakrauoi were believed to have been involved in a dirty bomb plot. . . are believed to have been involved in an Islamic State plan to create a bomb to scatter radioactive material over a populated area.

A senior Belgian nuclear industry official was secretly filmed by jihadists late last year, according to the country’s nuclear authority. Yesterday the brothers were linked to the surveillance. 

A senior expert in nuclear control told the Times that “when you start filming someone in the way they did, the logical conclusion is that they wanted to abduct that person and obtain nuclear material.”

About 140 soldiers were guarding Belgium’s two atomic power plants, a nuclear research facility and a company that makes medical isotopes, with two members of the terrorist cell behind Tuesday’s attacks at large last night.

Since those raids seven workers at the Tihange nuclear power station in eastern Belgium have had their work entry passes withdrawn and a further four passes were revoked after the latest attacks following vetting by a committee including intelligence and security agencies.

The key figure in the alleged dirty bomb plot is Mohammed Bakkali, 28, from Brussels, who was arrested in November on suspicion of helping to plan the Paris massacre. Police raided his wife’s flat and found a ten-hour video taken by a camera hidden opposite the home of an executive at the Centre for the Study of Nuclear Energy in Mol, northern Belgium. The executive had access to radioactive isotopes at the country’s national nuclear research centre.