Belgian al-Qaeda cell found linked to 2006 airline plot

An alleged group arrested last December in one of the largest counterterrorism operations in Belgian history have been found to have connections to a senior al-Qaeda operative who helped orchestrate the 2006 “Airline Plot,” widely recognized as al Qaeda’s most serious terror attempt since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

A senior counterterrorism source with detailed knowledge of the investigation found connections to Moez Garsallaoui, a Tunisian Islamist militant who left Belgium for the tribal areas of Pakistan in late 2007. Belgian investigators said that a pro-al-Qaeda website helped radicalize the members of the alleged Brussels terrorist cell. Fourteen individuals were originally arrested in Belgium; six were charged with participation in a terrorist group, and the others were released.

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