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Monday, November 11, 2013

Belgium: Man armed with knife arrested outside Israeli embassy


The Shin Bet has recently declared a state of enhanced readiness in Israeli embassies across Europe, in the wake of a security incident which took place in Israel's Belgian facility.

A few days ago, security agents stopped a Belgian national who had converted to Islam at the entrance to embassy grounds. During a physical search conducted on his person, the agents discovered knives on his body and the man was then transferred to Brussels police for interrogation. The man was known to the local authorities.
  
At exactly the same time, security personnel spotted a suspicious man observing the embassy. The local police who guard the site of the embassy arrested the man and discovered he was an Iranian national. He was also taken into interrogation by the Belgian authorities.

In Israel, officials expressed concern of a connection between the two incidents and the possibility that the man carrying the knives was a distraction to allow the Iranian to collect information on embassy procedures.

The two suspects were arrested and interrogated for possible links to terror operations, though the two were released at the end of the investigation. Israeli security officials were not pleased that the suspects were released and insisted on passing their displeasure on to the authorities in Brussels.

The incident occurred near Israeli diplomatic ground in Brussels, which includes both the Israeli embassy to Belgium and the Israeli embassy to the European Union and its assorted agencies.
  
In the last few years, a number of Iranian nationals were caught observing Israeli embassies. Iranian agents have attempted to commit acts of terror against the Israeli embassies in Azerbaijan, Tbilisi, and Bangkok. A few months ago an Iranian agent was arrest observing the Israeli embassy in Kathmandu.

In February 2012, Iranian agents executed a terror attack in which Tal Yehoshua Koren, wife of the Defense Ministry envoy to India, was injured. The Iranians stuck an explosive device on her vehicle. Koren and her driver were injured, as were two others.

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