An Islamist who killed two Swedish fans in Brussels has been expelled from Sweden. In Italy, he was considered radicalized and was under surveillance by the local intelligence service. Then he went to Belgium.
On Monday, October 16, Abdesalem Lassoued, a 45-year-old of Tunisian origin, shot two Swedish citizens with a Kalashnikov in Brussels and seriously wounded the third. The Swedes most likely appeared in the city in connection with the 2024 European Championship qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden.
After the attack that took place in the city center, the attacker fled on a scooter. The next morning he was arrested in one of the cafes. There was a shooting, as a result of which Lassoued was taken to hospital, where he died. However, Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden did not rule out that accomplices of the Brussels attacker were still at large. Two people are wanted. Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, in turn, assessed the 45-year-old as a “lone wolf”.
Attack in Brussels. New information about Abdesalem Lassoued
The Italian state agency ANSA reports that the Tunisian arrived in Lampedusa by boat in 2011. After his stay in Italy, he went to Sweden, from where he was expelled and returned to Italy in 2016. Then the Bologna police concluded that he was radicalized. Lassoued expressed his desire to join the jihadists and go to fight. He was observed by Italian intelligence and later left for Belgium. In 2021, a man was photographed in Genoa.
According to police sources, it cannot be ruled out that the 45-year-old did not choose his victims randomly. It is possible that he decided to attack Sweden for expelling him. Van Quickenborne, in turn, said that the motive for attacking the Swedes could have been the burning of the Koran, which took place in Sweden in recent months.
Belgium lowers its terrorist threat level
Due to the attack, schools were closed for the entire day and EU institutions limited the working hours and presence of officials. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that the terrorist threat level had been lowered to the third level, and after Monday’s attack it was increased to the fourth, maximum level.
De Croo said that Lassoued applied for asylum in 2019. He received a negative decision after less than a year, and then disappeared. The Tunisian had no criminal record and had never stayed in a reception center. He was also not on the terrorist list. The Belgian Prime Minister commented that more communication is needed with countries of origin regarding the order to leave the territory. French President Emmanuel Macron, commenting on the attack, said that “Europe is in chaos.”