Police arrested several members of a Muslim biker gang in Belgium who they say planned to strike terror in the heart of Brussels during New Year’s celebrations.
The men are members of a Muslim biker gang called the Kamikaze Riders and are suspected to have discussed attacking Brussels’ Grand Place square and other crowded sites as well as police and military facilities, a senior Belgian counter-terrorism official told CNN on condition of anonymity.
The plot appears to have been “inspired but not directed,” by the Islamic State, also called ISIS, the counter-terrorism official said.
This is the exact terminology – “inspired not directed” – that the Obama administration used to describe the Dec. 2 attack on San Bernardino, California, in which a husband and wife jihadi team shot and killed 14 people at a Christmas party. As WND reported last week, the “inspired not directed” narrative is filled with holes, given the evidence in the San Bernardino case.
The arrests in Belgium came as investigators conducted searches in Brussels, in the surrounding province of Flemish Brabant and the eastern Belgian city of Liege on Sunday and Monday, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Watch KTVR report on Muslim biker gangs in Belgium:
Police were investigating an alleged plot that targeted high-profile sites in Brussels during end-of-the-year celebrations, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The prosecutor’s office said the arrests are not linked to November’s deadly Paris terror attacks, which involved militants who had been living in Belgium and at least one who entered Europe as a "refugee" with a Syrian passport.
Six were initially arrested, and four of them were released.
In the raids, police found computer equipment, military uniforms and ISIS propaganda.
The linking of criminal gangs with Islamic ideology has long been a concern of law enforcement.
In some of the "Black Lives Matter" rallies in U.S. cities, protesters have waved ISIS flags or banners. It's also a known fact that Islamic preachers have been recruiting in U.S. prisons for years.
[ISIS support banner at rally in Ferguson, Missouri. in 2014.]
ISIS support banner seen at rally in Ferguson, Missouri. in 2014.
The Kamikaze Riders gang in Belgium has been linked to terror investigations in the past, several Belgian news outlets reported, according to KTVR, a CBS affiliate in Richmond, Virginia. A former leader of the group, Abdelouafi Elouassaki, was arrested in 2013 after one of his brothers, who had traveled to wage jihad in Syria, allegedly called him from there to tell him about a plan to attack the main law courts in Brussels. Elouassaki was released without charge. At least one other member of the group has reportedly also been tied to jihadist activity.
Morten Storm, a former Danish biker gang member who became a jihadist before becoming a double agent for the CIA, told CNN there was an increasing emergence of "gangster jihadism" in Europe.
"Muslim gangsters and jihadis have one thing in common: They hate the system," Storm told CNN. "A significant number of Muslims involved in criminality are becoming born again in the religion and are becoming radicalized in jail, but many keep their ties to their old circles when they get out,” he told CNN.