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U.S. Sanctions Suspect in Brussels, Paris Attacks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe . Reuters

Washington, London- Several Western states, mainly the U.S. and Britain and other European countries, have intensified their preventive security measures to fight terrorism, after the wave of violence that the world witnessed in the past few months.

The U.S. on Wednesday designated a suspect in the Brussels and Paris attacks known as “the man in the hat” as a global terrorist, blocking any U.S. assets he may have.

The sanctions targeted Mohammed Abrini, a Belgian of Moroccan descent who was caught on surveillance video with two suicide bombers minutes before the March 22 attacks at the Brussels airport.

Abrini, 31, who was arrested April 8, has confessed to being “the man in white” or the “man in the hat” seen on the video.

In all, 32 people were killed at the airport and a Brussels metro station.

The State Department said he was a member of ISIS that carried out the attacks in Brussels and in Paris on November 13, 2015 that killed 130 people.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post said that Nicholas Young, who for seven years patrolled the Washington area’s Metro system as a transit police officer, was arrested for the crime of attempting to support a terrorist organization.

Young, of Fairfax, Virginia, was arrested at Metro Transit Police headquarters Wednesday.

Young, 36, sent codes for mobile messaging cards to an undercover federal agent in the belief that they would be used by ISIS militants overseas to communicate, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Alexandria.

In a related development and as part of security efforts to fight terrorism, British authorities announced that London police will deploy an additional 600 armed officers throughout the capital.

“Anyone who’s been following events in Europe over the past few weeks will understand why we want to show our determination to protect the public,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said in a statement.

“The reality of having to deal with armed and deadly attackers is that you need firearms officers who will use force to stop those attackers in their aim. Our firearms officers are the ones who will run towards the danger,” said Hogan-Howe.

London was hit by coordinated suicide bombings on July 7, 2005, when four extremists targeted three underground trains and one bus, killing 52 people.

Since then, numerous plots have been foiled and there have been smaller-scale attacks, such as the killing of an off-duty soldier on a street in south London by two extremists in May 2013.