A Belgian newspaper reports that Belgian intelligence developed a high-ranking al-Qaeda source as an informant and used the information to foil a terrorist attack in London. The attack intended to follow up on the 7/7/05 London transit system attack, but instead British security agents made a series of raids and arrests that uncovered the plot and the materials. The man believed to be their source was arrested in Morocco last month, leading an AQ unit:
A suspected Islamist leader may have helped foil an attack in Britain just after the 2005 London train bombings by tipping off Belgium’s intelligence service, a newspaper reported Saturday.
Belgium’s domestic intelligence gave British authorities “very precise” information that enabled them to foil the attack, planned for some time after the July 7, 2005 bombings, La Libre Belgique said.
Abdelkader Belliraj, a Belgian and Moroccan national, was arrested last month in Morocco on suspicion of having led an Al Qaeda-linked group.
But he is also thought to have been in the pay of Belgium’s State Security domestic intelligence for years.
It sounds like Belliraj wanted to eat his cake and have it, too. He informed on his colleagues and got them all captured and made some money with the Belgians. Afterwards, it looks as though he left Brussels and went full time into jihad in Morocco. Moroccan authorities claim he has confessed to a series of murders in Belgium going back twenty years.
Belliraj went on trial two weeks ago in Morocco for his terrorist activities there, which were apparently quite extensive. He built a network of jihadists and large caches of arms. Belliraj would have targeted Moroccan Jews, military officials, and government ministers had he been able to complete his mission in Morocco. It doesn’t quite square with the identity of an informant.
It could be that the Belgians want to discredit Belliraj in order to pressure him into cooperation — or it could easily be that Belliraj was just a complicated and narcissistic figure in a network of sociopaths.