Being gunned down is a fear in many places across the country. Brussels, Belgium, is not one of the places where that fear runs rampant. Instead, this is a quiet and often very peaceful country to call home. So, when an armed ISIS militant runs around yelling “Allahu Akbar,” it’s incredibly disconcerting. Meaning “Allah is greater” or “God is great,” this has been the battle call most commonly heard from Muslim fighters before, during, and as they lay dying from an insurgent attack.
Starting around 7:15 pm on October 16th, in the Saincteletteplein area of Brussels, the attack came out of nowhere. Gunned down were two Swedish soccer fans wearing their national team jerseys just hours before they took on the Belgium Red Devils. As he chased them down, he screamed his war cry as others fled in terror. With the country being one with heavy gun ownership, it was shocking that the shooter escaped.
With the city launching into lockdown, the federal prosecutor’s office took over the investigative efforts; this directly points to this being a terrorist attack. Strengthening this theory was an unverified video of the shooter going around social media. Filmed and reportedly posted before the attacks, in the video, he claimed he was going to “avenge the Muslims and that we live and die for our religion.” He declared that this would not be his first killing, and he had previously killed “infidels.”
After the attacks were announced, videos of the shooting started spreading like wildfire as well, but they were also unconfirmed. Nevertheless, they gave authorities a good description of the shooter and reportedly linked up with security footage. With Brussels maxed out on their terror alter rating at four- meaning the assessment was threats were “very serious and imminent.”
Clad in an orange jacket and white helmet, he was easily identified and found. Undertaking a manhunt through the night, they were after 45-year-old Abdeslam Lassoued. Previously applying for asylum in Belgium in 2019, he has been denied for “common legal offenses” in Tunisia. He had also called Sweden home for some time but had committed no crimes, according to their authorities.
Tracking him down in the streets he had successfully hidden from them in for years, he surfaced at 8:00 a.m. on October 17th at a café in Schaerbeek. Engaging authorities in a firefight, he was shot in the chest and died at a hospital from his injuries. Lassoued was confirmed by Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden as the suspect and declared dead on X. Brussels Mayor Philippe Close delivered a similar message.
Belgium requires paperwork and licensure for owning any firearms. With their broad definitions and odd choices for making certain things illegal, they also make it incredibly easy to get access back to the forbidden fruit. In all, it’s nothing more than a cash grab and a paperwork burial for most people. While no word has been announced about when, where, or how he acquired this firearm or how he was able to stay so long, it certainly will end up being announced at some point.
Given their laws and the outpouring of people willing to lockdown at first, they quickly were able to find him and hunt him down. No questions asked, no outpouring of rioting to support him or to decry his shooting followed. The people of Belgium were thankful to be rid of this scum and its perverse ideologies. Having a strong sense of national pride and intolerance for those who oppose their freedom and rights makes them a shining example of how to respond.
This shooting can easily be seen as a precursor of things to come here in the US. His final message was cut after the shootings, and he took full responsibility.
“Islamic greeting Allahu Akbar. My name is Abdesalem Al Guilani and I am a fighter for Allah. I am from the Islamic State. We love who loves us and we hate who hates us. We live for our religion and we die for our religion… Your brother took revenge in the name of Muslims. I have killed three Swedes so far… Those to whom I have done something wrong, may they forgive me. And I forgive everyone. Salam Aleykoum.”
With no word and when and where he allegedly gunned down a third Swede, many hope that he simply just couldn’t count, but they are on the lookout.