VTM and Het Laatste Nieuws announced Friday, on the basis of the indictment, that the perpetrators of the attacks of March 22, 2016 initially intended to target the Stade de France in Paris, confirming a rumor that was already circulating. They intended to take action there on June 10, 2016, the date of the opening match of the European Football Championship.
“The Federal Prosecutor’s Office wished, out of respect for the victims and their families, to maintain a certain confidentiality on this document, in any case as long as it did not have the assurance that all the civil parties received it” , said Eric Van Duyse, spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, to Belga. Journalists generally receive a copy of the indictment for each assize trial, in order to have time to read it before the start of the trial, but on a confidential basis. The indictment becomes public after it is read by the prosecutor on the first day of the trial.
Friday evening, VTM and Het Laatste Nieuws disclosed information about this act, relating to the initial project of the perpetrators of the Brussels attacks. They originally intended to attack the Stade de France in the middle of the European Football Cup on June 10, 2016. About 75,000 people had gathered there that evening. President François Hollande was also present in the stands to encourage the French team which was playing against Romania.
The indictment reveals, according to the two Dutch-language media, that, according to conversations found in a computer, the terrorists finally precipitated their project, by acting on March 22, at Brussels-National airport in Zaventem and in the Brussels metro, because they felt cornered after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam on March 18.
Rumors had already circulated in the press, after the attacks, according to which these attacks were not the first choice of the terrorist cell. The indictment confirms that the investigation led to this finding. The cell had considered a long list of targets, also points out the document of the federal prosecutor’s office, including some in Belgium, such as nuclear power plants, the port of Antwerp, the military barracks of Flawinne and the official residence of the Prime Minister.