Latest on Brussels. Belgian security forces are still scrambling to hunt down a suspect in Tuesday’s deadly bombing of the airport and a subway station in Brussels. The two suicide bombers have been identified as brothers with long criminal records. The pair, Khalid el-Bakraoui, 27, and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, 30, have been on the radar of Belgian police since a March 15 raid on an apartment in the city. Belgian news outlets namedNajim Laachraoui as the third man involved in the attack seen at the airport in addition to the el-Bakraoui brothers. Laachraoui is reportedly linked to the Paris attacks. There are conflicting reports about whether a man arrested by Belgian authorities on Wednesday in Anderlecht was Laachraoui. The attacks killed over 30 people and left about 250 others injured.
“The failure to detect and interdict the Paris attacks in November seemed to point to a problem of capacity. European countries, having stood by and watched for years as their angry boys were radicalized and recruited into the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, seemed to have far too many terrorism suspects and resulting leads to manage. The volume of potential terrorists to cover seemingly exceeded the capacity of European authorities. In November, I discussed the ‘Iceberg Theory’ of terrorist plots, where for the eight to ten Paris attackers, ‘we should look for two, three, or possibly four dozen extremist facilitators and supporters between Syria and France.’ Today I suspect we are seeing more of Europe’s terrorism iceberg. Last week’s arrest of Abdelslam and today’s failure to detect and disrupt a major terrorist attack similar to that of Paris suggests a far more ominous counterterrorism problem in Europe -- incompetence. Belgian authorities arrested Abdelslam in Molenbeek, an area swept repeatedly by counterterrorism authorities in recent months. The arrest of Abdelslam should have immediately triggered an intense buildup in law enforcement activity to disrupt a likely retaliatory attack. Additionally, today’s attacks at the airport and in the subway system used suicide missions armed with explosives. The use of explosives suggests that a significant terrorist facilitation network likely remains in Europe empowering attacks al Qaeda always dreamed of executing but for which they lacked the operational support capability.”