Convicted Islamic terrorist among seven people arrested in Belgium for teen abduction
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- Khalid Bouloudo Khalid Bouloudo is a Belgian-Moroccan terrorist convict who has trained in...[+]
- Al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda is a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin...[+]
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Belgian prosecution officials on Tuesday said that 45-year-old Khalid Bouloudo, twice convicted for terrorism, is one of the seven men arrested following police’s rescuing of the 13-year-old, kidnapped from his family home in Genk, in eastern Belgium, in late April.
In 2006, Bouloudo was handed a 5-year prison sentence after he was identified as a key figure in the creation of a Belgian division of Moroccan terror cell Islamic Combatant Group (GICM), a jihadist group with ties to Al-Qaeda, linked to the 2003 and 2004 bombings in Casablanca and Madrid.
In 2015, he was again arrested and jailed for 10 years for terrorism, accused of radicalising and recruiting people in Belgium to fight with terrorist group Islamic State in Syria. After an appeal, his sentence was reduced to three years suspended prison sentence coupled with a probationary period of five years. Despite these conditions, it seems that he disappeared from the radars and has continued to recruit extremists in order to mount this recent hostage taking.
Bouloudo’s involvement in the kidnapping case has sparked fierce criticism from Flemish politicians, who have questioned why law enforcement did not follow-up on his file more thoroughly.
“How is it possible that someone is paroled and yet can gather weapons, form a gang and commit such offences? Surely he should be kept under surveillance?” Kristien Van Vaerenbergh, an MP with the nationalist N-VA party, said in an address to the Flesmish regional parliament.
Police said the teen was taken from his home by a group of five masked and heavily-armed men who stormed the property in the middle of the night and held him for 42 days as they attempted to exact a €5 million ransom from his family.
The rescue operation, which involved support from French, Dutch and American authorities, was kept mostly quiet and saw police retrieve the boy from his kidnappers safely, in exchange of a hefty ransom payment.
According to several media reports, the boy’s father has served jail time for drug trafficking while his uncle is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for drug trafficking after he was identified as a major kingpin in the European drug trafficking network.
Source: EJ Press