2016-03-27 17:55:00

Italy detains suspect over Brussels amid grief and controversy

(Vatican Radio) Italian police say they have detained an Algerian man wanted by Belgian authorities for alleged involvement in facilitating false identity papers used by suspects linked to recent deadly attacks in Brussels and Paris. News of the man's detention, near Salerno, came amid political tensions in Belgium and grief following the attacks at Brussels airport and at a subway train that killed at least 31 people and injured hundreds.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report: 

A planned mass rally to remember the victims of Brussels' worst terror attack in recent history was cancelled amid security concerns. Yet still people spent part of Easter Sunday at a square in front of Brussels historic stock exchange building. "The candles are not yet burning" a child said. An adult soon rushed to lit the candles.

Nearby people gathered there to sing, write chalk messages or to lay flowers. "I came here especially because just a half hour before the attack at the Maalbeek Metro station my wife and daughter were passing the station. They go there every day to go to work and work. So such an attack has impacted us a lot," said a man, Alwin.

Sunday's commemoration came amid reports that Italian police detained an Algerian man near Salerno as he was wanted by Belgian authorities for alleged involvement in a Belgium-based network of false identity documents used by suspects implicated in the Paris and Brussels attacks. Officials said police noted that the man when he applied for a residency permit as he had the same name as a man sought by Belgium.


Yet despite another success in an ongoing anti-terror operation, pressure is increasing on the government to explain police and intelligence failures. The company running the Brussels Metro subway system says it did not receive an order to evacuate stations before the devastating deadly attack at the Maalbeek station killed more than a dozen people near the European Union headquarters.

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon told Belgium's VRT television that an investigation is ongoing. "Just before nine a clock the crisis center decided it would be good to halt the Metro operations and that was communicated though the  channels such as the railway police." However he added it is important not to have tensions over this now. "Let the parliamentary investigative committee do its work," he said.

Yet for the survivors and those who lost loved ones all that remains are messages of sadness, solidarity and grief. Officials say the messages left for victims of the bomb attack at a Brussels subway station are being collected for storage in the Belgian capital's archives.

The messages were being laid Sunday on kitchen paper to dry after overnight rain and carefully stacked for transport. Those that can't be taken for safe keeping are photographed. In the words of Catholic priest Philippe Sandstrom: "Archives are always important for life, and for the future."


All the contents on this site are copyrighted ©.