Last Update 18:19
Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Belgium uncovers plot to kill police as terror arrests sweep Europe

AFP , Friday 16 Jan 2015
Belgium
A Policeman guards the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's office in Brussels, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 (Photo: AP)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 755
Share/Bookmark
Views: 755

Belgian police raided an Islamist cell planning attacks against police on Friday as dozens of people were arrested in sweeps across Europe, keeping the continent on alert one week after the Paris attacks.

Two suspected jihadists were shot dead in a police raid in the eastern Belgian town of Verviers on Thursday night and prosecutors said 13 suspects had been detained across Belgium, with two more held in France.

French police separately detained 12 people in the suburbs of Paris in connection with last week's attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, a Jewish supermarket and a policewoman, in which 17 people were killed.

Hundreds of German police meanwhile raided alleged Islamist sites in Berlin, arresting two men suspected of being part of a group planning to carry out an attack in Syria.

The raids highlighted fears about young Europeans travelling to fight with the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda-linked groups in the Middle East before returning to carry out attacks on western targets.

"The group was on the verge of carrying out terrorist attacks to kill police officers in public roads and in police stations," Belgian federal prosecutors' spokesman Eric Van der Sijpt told a news conference about the raids overnight.

Police found Kalashnikov assault rifles, explosives, ammunition and communications equipment, along with police uniforms that could have been used for the terror plot, he said.

Members of the group had recently returned from Syria, prosecutors said, but they said there still appeared to be no direct link to the Paris attacks.

Prime Minister Charles Michel raised Belgium's terror alert to its second highest level after the raids. The European Commission stepped up security at its headquarters in Brussels as a "precaution", a spokeswoman said.

Jewish schools in Brussels and the port city of Antwerp closed Friday.

The unrest across Europe has fuelled fears of tensions between communities, but in Verviers, a faded industrial town near the German border, residents said they would stay united.

"The Muslim community had the strongest reaction, one that says that none of this should exacerbate the delicate balance that makes this town stand on its feet," mayor Marc Elsen said.

Belgium has one of the largest number of extremists who have returned from Syria relative to its population, with a large Muslim community that suffers from high unemployment and disenfranchisement.

With France still reeling from the attacks which targeted its cherished traditions of free speech, US Secretary of State John Kerry laid wreaths on Friday at both Charlie Hebdo offices and the Jewish supermarket during a visit to Paris.

It follows criticism of the US for not sending a top representative to a march in Paris on Sunday, which drew 1.5 million people and dozens of world leaders in the wake of the attacks.

The magazine inflamed Muslims in many countries by printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The funeral of Stephane Charbonnier, alias Charb, the editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo, was also due to take place on Friday.

The nine men and three women arrested in France overnight were to be questioned about "possible logistic support" they may have given to the gunmen -- Islamist brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly -- in particular weapons and vehicles, the source said.

In Germany an alleged leader of a group planning to carry out an attack in Syria and the man in charge of financing were arrested in raids on suspected Islamist sites in and around Berlin by more than 200 police officers, officials said.

They were suspected of leading an Islamist group of "Turkish and Russian nationals from (the Caucasus regions' of) Chechnya and Dagestan."

International anger over Charlie Hebdo's printing of a new image of Mohammed in its sold-out comeback issue this week continued to rage, with protesters clashing with police outside the French consulate the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

AFP photographer Asif Hassan was shot while covering the demo but appeared to be out of danger following surgery.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
3



alatif
17-01-2015 07:51pm
0-
0+
Charlie Hebdo massacre
Extremist Muslim follow the Ancient Arab culture, intolerance, rude and rough --that is why God sent prophet to Arabian, so .Prophet can teach Arab people to be nice / kind, love each other etc through Al Quran What Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, if someone insulted, mocked him ? The (faithful) slaves of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the foolish ones address( insult or mock ) them answer: Peace; QS 25:(63) . And good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with that which is best. And lo, he between whom and thyself was enmity will become as though he were a warm friend. QS 41:34 With all my love
Email
 
Name
 
Comment's Title
 
Comment
2



Allen
17-01-2015 11:03am
0-
0+
They are catching on....
Now they know President Sisi was right on target, and ahead of the EU by a mile.
Email
 
Name
 
Comment's Title
 
Comment
1



Allen
16-01-2015 07:45pm
0-
0+
The spread of terror in Europe.
And the EU is giving bad advice to Egypt where terrorism is under control thanks to President Sisi and the Egyptian Army.
Email
 
Name
 
Comment's Title
 
Comment
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.