Belgium arrests ‘watch list’ Frenchman, finds photos of Brussels airport taken before March attack

FILE PHOTO: Empty airport road and broken windows are seen at the scene of explosions at Zaventem airport near Brussels following Tuesday's bomb attacks, Belgium, March 23, 2016 © Eric Vidal
The laptop of a French citizen arrested in Belgium has been found to contain pictures of Brussels Zaventem Airport taken before the terrorist attacks there in March, local media revealed.

The man, identified as Omar B, 24, a resident of the Val-de-Marne deportment in central France, was arrested in Brussels Zaventem Airport on Wednesday, French TV channel M6 Info reports

The suspect was wearing an electronic bracelet, apparently because he was on the “Fiche S” list, an indicator used by France to flag those considered to be a threat to national security. Those on the list are not arrested, but are thoroughly monitored by the authorities.

Omar B, who has been using the alias ‘Scarface’, was reportedly distantly connected to those who attacked Paris back in November 2015. He was also convicted of a number of petty crimes, according to M6 info. 

Initially he was arrested for violation of his supervision conditions, which prohibited him to leave the country. He was reportedly using false documents that belonged to his brother and said that he was a tourist.

As the Belgian authorities analyzed his laptop, they found photos of Brussels Zaventem Airport taken before the attacks in March, M6 Info revealed Friday.

Paris was immediately informed, and the French authorities will now decide if they will prosecute the man for the violation of his supervision conditions or for terrorist acts.

Brussels has been on high alert since twin suicide bombings hit Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek metro station on March 22. The attack killed 32 people and injured dozens more. The station is near the buildings of the EU Commission and the Council of the European Union, as well as NATO’s headquarters.

Numerous raids have been conducted in the mainly Muslim Molenbeek area of Brussels, which is often referred to as an “Islamist hotspot.” Many of the suspects involved in the Paris attacks grew up and lived in Molenbeek, including terrorist mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Abdeslam brothers, and Mohamed Abrini – who was also involved in the Brussels attacks.