The number of attacks involving explosives in Antwerp has fallen sharply in 2023 compared to the previous year. This is reported by the Gazet van Antwerpen. The police in that city, on the other hand, are concerned about the increased number of kidnappings and torture.
The arrest of 217 attackers since the summer of 2022 appears to have resulted in a sharp decrease in the number of attacks involving explosives in Antwerp. In 2022, the police were investigating 85 of these types of cases, while this year – so far – it concerns 52 facts, the Gazet van Antwerpen said on its website on Thursday.
The police see several explanations for this decline. Then it concerns the chance of being caught and the penalties that the courts impose. A chief commissioner of the federal police in the newspaper: ‘These guys all get four years in prison, that can count as a signal. Moreover, the chance of being caught is high.’
Forty of the suspects were arrested in the Netherlands at the request of the Belgian court. Twenty Dutch suspects were caught red-handed after a chase.
The Belgian police are concerned about the increased number of kidnappings and ‘torture’. In 2022 there were three cases under investigation, this year there are seven. The police commissioner states that the violence has become more serious: ‘It concerns very gruesome torture, in which phalanges or earlobes are cut off. In one case, the victim was cut in the back and forehead and caustic products were poured into the wounds.’
A Dutch victim was also involved in these cases. A suspect was arrested for the serious assault.
The Gazet van Antwerpen also reports that 700 files have been created by the police following the hack of the encrypted messaging server Sky ECC, while 1,000 unidentified accounts still need to be investigated.