Neglect halted anti-terror moves: Belgian minister

People stop and look at floral tributes placed outside the Maelbeek metro station, the scene of one of the bomb attacks on the Belgian capital, in Brussels, Saturday, March 26, 2016. (AP)

Belgium's interior minister says the Belgian government has invested $670 million into police and security services over the past two years but acknowledged that neglect over decades had caused deficiencies that have hampered an effective response to violent extremism.

Minister Jan Jambon said errors were made in the run-up to the March 22 Brussels attacks that killed at least 31 people and wounded 270 others, but says fresh investments need time before they become visible. He said Sunday that hiring anti-terror specialists and specialized equipment could not happen in weeks or months.

Jambon says “it is also not because you put the money in now, that tomorrow all this is visible on the ground.”

Meanwhile on Sunday, Brussels prosecutors have charged another man with participation in a terrorist group, the Belgian press agency Belga said.

Belga named the man arrested as A. Abderrahmane who prosecutors had said on Saturday was being detained for a further 24 hours after being shot during a raid in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek.

It said he was charged in connection with a related raid in France this week that authorities say foiled an apparent attack plot.

The prosecutor's office could not immediately be reached for comment.


(With the Associated Press and Reuters)
 

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