The terrorists responsible for the attack in Brussels may have also been considering an assault on a nuclear power plant.
After the Paris terror attacks in November, Belgian authorities reportedly discovered 12 hours of footage indicating that Islamic State adherents were spying on a senior official with Belgium’s nuclear power program, according to Derniere Heure, a French-language newspaper based in Brussels.
The video, which was purportedly taken at the home of the research and development director of the nuclear program, was allegedly captured by a hidden camera concealed in the bushes outside; police later found the footage in a Brussels apartment.
Reports indicate that it was Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui — the two brothers identified by authorities as suicide bombers responsible for Tuesday’s Brussels attack — who recorded the footage at the scientist’s home, though CBS News reported on Thursday that it could not independently confirm the claim.
That said, the outlet reported that a U.S. official confirmed that the brothers were involved in secret surveillance of a nuclear official and, potentially, a nuclear facility.
These allegations have emerged as investigators continue to look into the brothers’ past history.
According to CBS News, authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Khalid El Bakraoui in December on terror charges after he is said to have rented an apartment in Belgium with a false identity — a location where terrorist suspects involved in the Paris attack were able to reside in the wake of that assault.
Ibrahim El Bakraoui, too, apparently popped up on Turkey’s radar, with the country arresting him at the border last summer and reportedly warning investigators in Belgium that he was involved in terror.
As for the footage, investigators were at first perplexed by it when it was first uncovered months ago, but after watching it in its entirety, they reportedly determined that the terrorists were considering an attempt to gain access to a nuclear facility, according to the Daily Mail.
Reports about the possible nuclear power plant plot began emerging in February, with the Independent reporting at the time that the footage was uncovered in the home of Mohamed Bakkali, 26, a terror suspect who was arrested and charged for purported links to the Paris attacks.
Investigators speculated at the time that the two men seen on security video collecting the camera footage might have been considering a plan to kidnap the scientist in question an effort to gain access to a nuclear facility; police said that there was a threat to the individual, but not to the facilities.
“To date, we have no indication that there is a specific threat to the Belgian nuclear sites,” Belgium Interior Minister Jan Jambon said at the time. “The nuclear industry is one of the best protected areas.”
The discovery purportedly led Belgian and French authorities to elevate security at nuclear facilities in both countries at the time — and, on Tuesday, two plants were evacuated in the wake of the Brussels attack.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: