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Moroccan Arrested Over Extortion, False Bomb Threat to Schools in Belgium

A 42-year-old Moroccan national has been arrested in Casablanca for involvement in both the recent bomb threat extortion case in Belgium and a separate digital extortion case. The suspect’s alleged involvement in orchestrating false terrorism threats and demanding ransom in Belgium led to the closure of 27 schools in the country. The Wallonie-Bruxelles Enseignement administration took the precautionary measure on Monday after a bomb alert was issued on Sunday evening. The arrest was carried out by the National Office for Combating Terrorism and Organized Crime after initial findings suggested that the individual sent threatening emails to establishments in Morocco and abroad, seeking financial gain under the guise of impending terrorist attacks. Reports from Belgian media said that the suspect demanded a hefty sum of 10 million euros in exchange for revealing the locations of five alleged bombs. The situation prompted the closure of schools in Brussels and the neighboring Brabant region, disrupting normal activities and causing concern among residents. The arrested individual confessed to the extortion plot during questioning by Moroccan authorities, Reuters reported. Preliminary findings from the investigation have ruled out any terrorist motives. Read also: False Bomb Alert Outside Morocco’s Consulate in Belgium Affects Traffic Moroccan authorities clarified that the motive behind the digital extortion plot was personal, as the suspect had attached the threat messages to the bank account of a Moroccan citizen residing abroad. This act was purportedly driven by unresolved disputes between the two individuals and a desire for revenge. In an official statement, the Belgian prosecutor’s office emphasized that collaboration with Moroccan authorities remains ongoing to further uncover motives behind the extortion attempt. Schools that were affected by the false bomb alert reopened on Tuesday, with students and staff resuming their regular routines. Police have seized computer equipment and digital storage devices from the suspect, which are undergoing forensic examination to uncover more evidence linked to the criminal acts.

Source: Morocco World News