Belgium warned about emerging homegrown terrorist threat in 2007

Police at the scene of a security operation in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek. Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

The Belgian government was warned that the country's intelligence agencies were ill-equipped to deal with the emerging threat from homegrown jihadists, nine years before the attacks on Brussels' airport and subway system.

Some of the city's suburbs were becoming an "operational base" for homegrown terrorists, according to a 2007 report by an independent committee tasked with reviewing the work of Belgium's security services.

Although the report concluded that confronting extremism should not be the responsibility of intelligence agencies, it said they "(seemed) reluctant to investigate deeper causes of violent radicalisation... political, cultural, socialogical"

The report, unearthed by ITV News, warned Belgium's parliament that "our country can at any time become the target of Jihadist terrorism."

Belgian has been accused of not doing enough to stop the attack in Brussels. Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

This week, Belgian authorities have been accused of not doing enough to act on warnings from Turkey and the United States about the Brussels attackers.

And one police chief admitted that his department had failed to share a dossier of evidence about associates of Salah Abdeslam, four months before he was arrested.

The 2007 report concluded that the Belgian government should "encourage the intensification of cooperation between law enforcement and security services of (EU) member states."

It recommended that the spy agencies consider "the possibility of hiring... agents with specific profiles for the knowledge of cultures and foreign languages."