BRUSSELS — With Belgium already on high alert after several of its citizens took part in November's attacks in Paris, authorities in Brussels are raising new concerns about potential jihadist threats to nuclear safety.
The Belgian daily L'Echo reports Thursday that authorities have confirmed that the brother-in-law of a jihadist, who himself had extremist Islamic views, had been in line to become a top manager at a nuclear power plant in Doel, Belgium.
The nuclear engineer was ultimately fired by the Electrocabel authorities three years ago after admitting that he was a radicalized Muslim. L'Echo reports that Belgian authorities have now confirmed the former power plant manager's family ties to jihadist leader Azzedine Kbir Bounekoub, a member of the ISIS-lnked group Sharia4Belgium in Antwerp.
Kbir Bounekoub, also known as Abou Abdullah, is currently fighting in Syria and is wanted by the police after being sentenced last year to 12 years in prison for participation in a terrorist organization.
The brother-in-law, whose identity was not published, was in training at Electrabel to become a supervisor at the plant. A source at Doel was quoted by L'Echo as citing several signs of radicalization, including the employee's refusal to shake hands with his female superior. He was eventually fired for openly displaying such behavior deemed unacceptable at the company.
Electrocabel says that it has very strict security measures, which were reinforced after the suspected sabotage on the Doel 4 reactor in 2014 when 90,000 litres of oil leaked into the steam turbine, causing it to overheat.