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The hole in Belgium's police force that could put us all in danger

CBS News visits Belgium, which provides more foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria, per capita, than any other European nation
CBS News visits Belgium, which provides more ... 07:33

In today's post-9/11 world, most people probably assume that police departments in major global cities have sizable contingents devoted to counterterrorism. And some do. The NYPD, for example, essentially has miniature equivalents of the CIA and the FBI working within its own ranks. Other police departments in other cities, however, are not so well-equipped ... even in some of the world's most dangerous hotbeds of terror.

Take Belgium, for example. Authorities suspect there are currently as many as 800 jihadists in Belgium; 450 in the Belgian capital of Brussels; 85 just in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek. In fact, at least six of the terrorists who attacked Paris in November 2015, killing 130 people and injuring 368, had connections to Molenbeek. So, what's really going on in this Belgian neighborhood? And why are all of these terrorists slipping through the cracks? CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers travelled to Brussels to get the bottom of it.


"It's a big number," Molenbeek's Mayor, Francoise Schepmans, told him. "But here in Molenbeek, you have a lot of people who are Muslim, a lot of people who are coming from Morocco. So ... it is one of the reasons why we have so many people in contact with radicalism and with jihadism."

CBSN investigates the policies and conditions... 08:24

Traditionally, Belgian citizens only speak two languages, French and Dutch. However, as Mayor Schepmans states, the city has seen a huge influx of immigrants from Morocco in recent years, who speak Arabic. And in the CBSN Originals documentary, "Molenbeek: Terror Recruiting Ground," the borough's police commissioner tells Duthiers that there are simply not enough cops who speak Arabic on Molenbeek's police force to combat the growing threat of homegrown terror on its streets.

What's more, he reveals there are only four police officers in Molenbeek specifically assigned to investigating radicalism, a number which pales in comparison to the counterrorism units in other cities. And in a nation that now has more citizens fighting in Iraq and Syria, per capita, than any other country in Europe, that may be a very small bandaid on a much larger wound.

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