The Belgian Justice Minister has resigned from office, following mounting pressure over the Belgian government’s handling of a case involving the killing of two individuals by a member of the Islamic State (ISIS).
The minister revealed that in 2020, Belgian justice authorities had neglected a request from Tunisia to extradite the 45-year-old gunman.
In announcing his resignation, the minister acknowledged that the government’s failure to act on the extradition request was an inexcusable error and declared his full political responsibility for the brutal assault.
The assailant had targeted Swedes who were in Brussels to watch a European championship football match between Belgium and Sweden.
The shooting not only resulted in the tragic loss of lives but also led to the abandonment of the game. The Belgian Prime Minister referred to the attack as a brutal terrorist act.
Following the attack, the gunman, identified as Al Gulani, claimed responsibility for the assault on his Instagram account. He had been residing in Belgium illegally after failed attempts to seek asylum in 2019.
Gulani was also known to Belgian police in connection with aiding and abetting the smuggling of people into Britain.
The attack, which placed Belgium on high alert, occurred against the backdrop of heightened security concerns due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
However, Belgian prosecutors have indicated that the shooting appeared to be motivated by what they referred to as “episodes of Quran desecration” in Sweden.