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Brussels Residents Come Together In Mourning After Terror Attacks


The sense that the Belgium government had so many red flags about Ibrahim el-Bakraoui has many Belgians feeling frustrated and angry.

OLIVIER PLAQUET: I just feel amazed about that because it's not normal.

CORNISH: That's Olivier Plaquet, a French-speaking Belgian from Brussels. He told us that el-Bakraoui should not have been free to plot this attack given all that the government knew about him.

PLAQUET: But maybe here in Europe, freedom is too important, and sometimes we have to forget that for a while to manage these kind of people.


Another Belgian, Carlos Verstragter (ph) says the attacks raise the need for scrutiny of a complicated and inefficient system of government and law enforcement.

CARLOS VERSTRAGTER: Do you know how many mayors there are here in Brussels - 19. Do you know how many police zones there are only in Brussels - six. Why not one mayor? Too complicated is that.

SIEGEL: One deputy mayor says the sense of alienation felt by the young people in his community needs to be addressed. Karim Majoros' district is Molenbeek, known for being home to terrorist plotters, including those who planned November's Paris attacks.

KARIM MAJOROS: There were activity for the children but not activity, no project for the teenagers. And so I think it's - one of the consequence is the terrorism, so...

CORNISH: Without avenues to integrate into the broader community, he says their only choice is either drugs or the mosque. And for some, that means radicalization. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.