Monday, March 17, 2008

Victims Of Moroccan Islamist Identified

On February 18 this year, Moroccan authorities arrested several individuals, claiming that they belonged to an "Islamist network". Initially 23 persons were apprehended, with that number soon rising to 32. The leader of the group was identified as Abdelkader Belliraj, an individual who had spent some time in Belgium.

On February 20, Morocco's Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa gave a press conference. He claimed that during raids, weaponry had been recovered. This included nine Kalashnikovs, two Uzi machine guns replete with six magazines and a silencer, seven Skorpio sub-machine pistols with ten chargers and 5 silencers, 16 automatic pistols and other munitions and detonators.

Benmoussa said the Islamist network had financed itself through crime, with proceeds from a 2001 robbery at the HQ of Brinks, Luxembourg being smuggled into Morocco. The amount from this raid was nearly $4 million. The money was then laundered through businesses, tourism projects and real estate. Jewellery stolen in Belgium was also smuggled into Morocco where it was melted down into gold ingots.

Benmoussa said the group had been in contact with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001. From 2001 to 2004 it was linked to the Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain, or GICM. In 2001, 2003 and 2004 the group had links with the GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) in Algerian terror training camps in 2005.

Belliraj's group had tried to get terrorist training from the Hizbullah-run camps in Lebanon in 2002. The Interior Minister said that the "Belliraj" network was planning to use explosives in terror attacks, to assassinate Moroccan ministers, civil officials, military heads and some Moroccan Jewish citizens. Belliraj had set up the terror network in 1992, and in 1996 the group had also tried to assassinate Moroccan Jewish citizens, and had planned other attacks between 1992 and 2005.

Chakib Benmoussa also said that Belliraj, using aliases "Ilyass" and "Abdelkrim" carried out six murders in Belgium between 1986 and 1989.

By the end of the week, it was confirmed that investigators in Belgium were investigating the claims about the six killings. Now, according to FlandersNews via Expatica, the identities of the six victims have been clarified.

Belliraj usually acted on his own in his killings, preferably using a 7.65 mm revolver, but sometime he would be helped by an accomplice who was known as Bekti. This accomplice is one of the people who were arrested in Morocco on February 18 - 19.

Apparently Abdelkader Belliraj confessed to carrying out or ordering the six killings after he had been confronted with evidence gathered from other suspects by Moroccan investigators.

Already, the identities of three of the victims have been revealed. They include Saudi Arabian Abdullah al-Ahdal, the rector of the Grand Mosque in Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels, and his assistant, Tunisian-born Salim el-Beher.

Al-Ahdal and his assistant had criticized the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie. This had been issued on February 14, 1989. On March 30, 1989, al-Ahdal and el-Beher were shot dead at close range. They were both hit in the head and neck in the Grand Mosque's office.

Later in the same year, 48-year old Joseph Wibran, the president of the co-ordination committee of Jewish organisations in Belgium (CCOJB) became one of Belliraj's alleged victims. Mr Wibran worked as head of the immunology department at Erasme Hospital in Anderlecht, Brussels. On October 3, 1989, he was killed in the parking area outside this hospital.

Around this time, Belliraj also murdered victim number 4, the odd-job man who worked at the Saudi Embassy in Brussels. This man is said to be the Egyptian chauffeur to the Saudi ambassador in Brussels.

Another named victim was a Jewish greengrocer called Raoul Schouppe, who worked in the vicinity of Brussels South station. Additionally he met his sixth victim in this region, at a restaurant. This victim, a 53-year old gay man, had apparently tried to proposition Belliraj. The victim's body was later dumped in Braine-le-Chateau in Walloon Brabant.

Strangely, despite attacking Jews and plotting terror attacks, Belliraj had also worked as an informant. De Tijd newspaper claimed on its website earlier this month that Belliraj's information had also provided "crucial information" to Belgium's intelligence services. Some of this information had allowed them to "foil an attack in another European country". The name of this other country has not been named.

It appears that Belliraj was paid for providing this information.

Source: Western Resistance.

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