“With the usual reservations, it seems to indicate that Oussama Atar is dead and, importantly, that the judicial investigation continues. It is essential to continue to try to shed light on this dark affair.”
Georges Dallemagne — Belgian Federal representative (February 28, 2018)
“If not for the request by different organizations … Oussama Atar would still be in Iraqi prison.”
Jawad Al-Hindawi — Iraqi Ambassador to Belgium
Brussels March 22 2019 — The attack at the Maelbeek metro station caused 16 deaths, leaving more than one hundred people injured. It followed the initial salvo of fatal explosions, which took place at Brussels Airport in Zaventem. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
RELATED POST: Paris attacks — Belgium formally charges Yassine Atar
RELATED POST: Welcome to Belgistan! [Is Belgium a Failed State?]
UPDATE — On November 7 2018, French news website, Mediapart, citing France’s General Directorate of External Security, confirms that Oussama Atar was killed by an airstrike by the international anti-jihadist coalition in Syria.
“On November 17th, 2017, a strike by the international coalition in Syria killed the Belgian Oussama Atar.”
Its statement follows the opening of an investigation, which has revealed that the seven people, believed to be the masterminds of the Paris and Brussels attacks, have all been killed in Syria.
The Belgian Federal Prosecution Service did not wish to comment upon the information.
So, Atar is dead, but many questions regarding his activities in Belgium remain unexplained.
END of UPDATE
In total these attacks, claimed to be carried out by the jihadist organisation Islamic State, caused 32 deaths with 324 people injured to varying degrees.
Still No Answers to Key Questions
Today, there is no longer any doubt that Oussama Atar — a Belgian of Moroccan descent — was mastermind of the Paris and Brussels attacks.
On February 23 2018, French media reported that Oussama Atar was dead. He would have been killed “a few weeks ago” somewhere in the “Syria-Iraq” area. His body was not recovered — no DNA — but French Intelligence services believe that he was killed.
According to an official letter, the Iraqis (Read: “the Americans”) had released Atar on two conditions. First, Atar would not be allowed to travel, and thus the Belgian Foreign Ministry would not give him a passport. Second, his activities would be monitored.
Even though Atar’s name was on the Belgian foreign fighters list, he visited his cousins — the El Bakraoui brothers, who had been arrested for criminal activity — at two separate prisons on the outskirts of Brussels more than 20 times. These two cousins are two of the suicide-bombers who later carried out the Brussels attacks.
The Belgian Foreign Ministry did immediately issue a passport to Ousama Atar after his release from an Iraqi jail. The reasons for this remain a mystery to this day.
And Two Additional Mysteries
In May 2006, the CIA informed the Belgian Intelligence Services that Oussama Atar was jailed at Cropper Camp in Iraq. Why on earth would the CIA even care? Why such a totally unusual procedure?
If senator Georges Dallemagne — or anyone else — wants to know the truth, I suggest to pull at that thread.
And, by the way, you may also wonder why the main Belgian Telecom operator — PROXIMUS — was unable to cope with the heavy traffic on that day? Officially, the CEO of that company told a Parliament Commission that an environmental law limiting the power of GSM antennas was to be blamed for the lack of capacity.
It is a lie. In truth, PROXIMUS was hit by a technical problem in the morning of the attacks. Bad luck?
1985 May 4 — Born in Laeken, Belgium
1999/2000 — First visit to Syria. Lives in Idlib
2002 — Ousama Atar travels to Syria
2004 — Atar goes back in 2004 before travelling to Iraq.
2005 — Arrested in Ramadi for crossing the border illegally/weapons trafficking
2005 May 24 — Life sentence
2006 May — The CIA informs the Belgian Intelligence Services that Oussama Atar is jailed at Cropper Camp in Iraq.
2006 — A Belgian Intelligence officer — André Jacob — is sent to Iraq to interview Oussama Atar. The ‘interview’ lasted about one week.
2007 February 28 — Under pressure from the Belgian government, the sentence is reduced to 10 years
2008 April 9 — Atar’s release from jail is decided at the highest level of the Belgian Government by the Comité Ministeriel de Renseignement et de la Sureté [CMRS].
2008 April 18 — The Belgian Foreign Ministry requests Atar’s release. In exchange, it offers promises that will be monitored and not allowed to travel (no passport).
2009 — A letter sent from the US Embassy to Belgian officials in Jordan outlines how Atar attempted a prison break with terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
2010 May — Amnesty International raises concerns about Atar’s general state of well-being to the Iraqi authorities
2010 Summer — Atar receives a consular visit from the Belgian embassy in Amman
2010 October 9 — The Belgian government [Website of Foreign Affairs] publicly reveals that repeated requests were made by Belgium to the Iraqi government to consider an early release of Oussama Atar for humanitarian reasons
2010 October 9 — Belgian politicians Zoé Genot, Ahmed Mouhssine, Jamal Ikazban and Ahmed El Khannouss participate in a campaign to free Oussama Atar
2010 November 14 — Amnesty International “call for action” to activists. “Oussama Atar, a 26-year-old Belgian national, is in need of urgent medical care at al-Rusafa Prison in Iraq.” [This information is false]
2012 September 16 — Oussama Atar returns to Belgium
2013 — Belgian Foreign Ministry delivers a passport to Oussama Atar
2013 December 30 — Atar is arrested in Hammamet, Tunisia. He is released and disappears. He later reappears in the Syria-Irak area.
2015 (Summer) — Belgian Police learns that Khalid El Bakraoui asked friends to gather “as much Kalashnikov ammunition as possible”.
2015 October 21 — Khalid El Bakraoui’s house is searched. Investigators find “calls for jihad” and “photos of known terrorists” on his laptop. Nothing is done. He is NOT arrested.
2015 November 13 — Paris attacks
2015 December — After the arrest of two “returnees” from Syria, the investigators learned about known as ‘Abu Ahmad’, a terrorist involved in recruiting a number of Islamist militants for attacks in Europe. Later, a computer — found in garbage — establishes the identity of Abu Ahmad as Oussama Atar.
2016 March 22 — Brussels attacks
2017 June 2 — Yassine Atar — brother of Oussama — is charged with ‘terrorist assassinations’
2017 November 17 — a strike by the international coalition in Syria kills the Belgian Oussama Atar
2018 February 22 — Oussama Atar is reported dead
2018 November 7 — French news website, Mediapart, citing France’s General Directorate of External Security, confirms that Oussama Atar was killed
Maelbeek station maintains a poignant silence — Brussels Times
Remembering the Brussels Attacks — March 22 2016
On This Day — Remembering the Brussels Attacks (March 22, 2016)