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Europe Calls for Exhaustive Confrontation and Brussels Pursues New bombers - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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People flock continuously to the sites of the Brussels bombings to remember the victims (EPA)

People flock continuously to the sites of the Brussels bombings to remember the victims (EPA)

European Union home affairs and justice ministers decided to speed up the pace at which common tools to fight terrorism are adopted, and share intelligence in a more effective manner in order to launch a full-scale confrontation against terrorism and the eradication of ISIS. These decisions were made at a meeting in Brussels yesterday that was held a few hundred metres away from the metro station that was targeted by a suicide bomber on Tuesday. The aim of the meeting was to improve European cooperation against terrorism and “derive lessons” from the terrorist attacks.

The German and French Interior Ministers Thomas de Maiziere and Bernard Cazeneuve demanded that the European Parliament speed up the process to share air passenger data among EU states as this is an essential factor in the fight against terrorism. Cazeneuve also stressed “the need for a systematic review of the Schengen information system”.

Paris believes that the danger posed by ISIS requires waging “a war on terrorism”. In a press statement yesterday, the French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian refuted the arguments of those calling for the withdrawal of Paris from external wars and said that “a presence on all fronts is necessary to defeat ISIS”. He added that the organisation is retreating in Syria and Iraq, where it has lost 25% of the land that it used to control.

In a related development, Belgian security forces continued to pursue two people yesterday as part of the investigation into the Brussels attacks after it was disclosed that three of the perpetrators who have been identified were linked to the Paris attacks that took place in November. This highlights the security holes in Belgium and the fight against terrorism in Europe in general.

Meanwhile, the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel refused to accept the resignation handed in by the Interior Minister Jan Jambon and the Justice Minister Koen Geens.

Furthermore, Abdeslam’s lawyer Sven Mary announced that his client “did not know” about the attacks on Tuesday, and “expressed to me his desire to go to France as soon as possible”.