WITH POSSIBLE TIES TO TERRORIST ATTACKS IN FRANCE
by Sharon Rondeau
(January 15, 2015) — The Associated Press has reported that police in Belgium have killed two people and arrested a third in connection with an ongoing investigation which reportedly result in additional “anti-terrorist raids” involving “extremists returning from Syria.”
Authorities said terrorists had targeted police buildings and that “an attack had been expected in hours or days.” The raid took place in the municipality of Verviers, which is located in the eastern part of the country not far from the border with Germany.
The UK-based Guardian has posted amateur video of the raid, which was carried out in darkness.
The UK Telegraph described the suspects, who began firing at police from a multiple-story building, as “suspected jihadists.”
On Wednesday, The Telegraph reported that the weapons used to kill 12 employees at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper office on January 7 were purchased in Belgium by Amedy Coulibaly, who was shot dead by French commandos on Friday after taking over a Jewish supermarket and killing four of its patrons.
Last Thursday, a police officer was shot in an incident believed to be connected to the attack on the newspaper. Coulibaly and a female accomplice, Hayat Boumeddienne, are thought to have been the perpetrators.
The attack on Charlie Hebdo was carried out by two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, who then took one hostage at a printing company in Dammartin-en-Goele some miles northeast of Paris last Friday before being killed by police.
Boumeddienne escaped and is still at large but believed to have gone to Syria last Thursday.
The Telegraph stated that police had received a tip from a purveyor of firearms who reportedly “contacted police after he became frightened because he had swindled Coulibaly and was now terrified because of [the] Frenchman’s links to Islamist terror groups.”
Buildings in Brussels and two other cities in addition to Verviers were the object of police searches, according to The Guardian.
No one has been reported injured in any of the raids or the exchange of gunfire with police in Verviers.
Belgium has raised its alert status to the second-highest level, according to several reports.
The Guardian reported that as many as 300 people traveled from Belgium to Syria, presumably to participate in terrorist activity.
On January 12, the terrorist group ISIS, or the Islamic State, announced its intentions to target law enforcement, “intelligence officers,” members of the military, and “civilians.”
On November 12, 2012, the Gatestone Institute reported that because of a large influx of Muslims, “the self-styled ‘Capital of Europe’ is now the most Islamic city in Europe.” At that time, Muslims comprised 6% of Belgium’s total population. In 2008, DW-TV reported through a local Muslim-raised journalist that young people were increasingly becoming “radicalized.”
“It is increasingly appealing to women,” the journalist said of her research into the Muslim community and radicalization in the “Molenbeek” section of Brussels. The group Sharia for Belgium seeks to overturn democracy in Belgium.