After Brussels, Belgian interior, justice ministers offered to resign | News | DW | 24.03.2016
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After Brussels, Belgian interior, justice ministers offered to resign

Prime Minister Charles Michel rejected resignation offers from his interior and justice ministers after the Brussels attacks. Belgian authorities have faced allegations of security shortcomings since Tuesday's bombings.

Belgium's interior and justice ministers on Thursday offered to resign after Turkey revealed that one of the suicide bombers involved in Tuesday's attacks in Brussels had been within the grasp of European authorities.

"You can ask how it came about that someone was let out so early and that we missed the chance to seize him when he was in Turkey. I understand the question," Interior Minister Jan Jambon said ahead of a meeting of EU interior and justice ministers in Brussels.

"In the circumstances, it was right to take political responsibility," Jambon told Belgian commercial broadcaster VTM.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said Ankara had deported Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the terror suspects, to the Netherlands in June 2015.

According to Erdogan, Turkey warned Belgian and Dutch authorities that Bakraoui was a "foreign terrorist fighter" whom officials had arrested near the border with Syria.

Bakraoui had been sentenced to nine years in a Belgian prison for an armed robbery, and the authorities had released him on parole before he had completed his term.

"It's not easy to get people back behind bars who flagrantly break their parole conditions, as was probably the case with Mr. Bakraoui," said Justice Minister Koen Geens.


Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel refused to accept their resignation, said Jambon.

Michel told federal and regional parliaments on Thursday that Belgian authorities "will do absolutely everything to shed light on the attacks."

"There can be no impunity … there can be no shadow of a doubt," the prime minister said, in reference to those responsible for the attacks.

More than 30 people were killed on Tuesday after bombs were detonated in Brussels' international airport and Maelbeek metro station.