Sweep against terror nets at least 24 suspects in Europe – The Indian Express

By: RAF CASERT & ANGELA CHARLTON

French, German and Belgian police arrested more than two dozen suspects in anti-terrorism raids Friday, as European authorities rushed to thwart more attacks by people with links to Islamic extremists in the Mideast.
Rob Wainwright, head of the police agency Europol, told Associated Press that foiling terror attacks has become “extremely difficult” because Europe’s 2,500-5,000 radicalised Muslim extremists have little command structures and are increasingly sophisticated.

Highlighting the fears, a bomb scare forced Paris to evacuate its busy Gare de l’Est train station during the Friday morning rush hour. No bomb was found. A man also took two hostages at a post office in Colombes, northwest of Paris, but police said the hostage-taker had mental issues and no links to terror.

Visiting the tense French capital, US Secretary of State John Kerry met President Francois Hollande and toured the sites of last week’s terror attacks: the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket. Twenty people, including the three gunmen, were killed.

One of those Paris attackers had proclaimed allegiance to ISIS, and French and German authorities arrested at least 14 other people Friday suspected of links to same terror group.

Thirteen more people were detained in Belgium and two were arrested in France in a separate anti-terror sweep following a firefight Thursday in the eastern Belgian city of Verviers. Two suspected terrorists were killed and a third wounded in that raid on a suspected terrorist hideout. Federal magistrate Eric Van der Sypt Friday said the suspects were within hours of implementing a plan to kill police on the street or in their offices.

Belgian authorities searching Friday for more suspects in more than a dozen raids found four military-style weapons including Kalashnikov assault rifles. They also found several police uniforms, which could have allowed the suspects to pass themselves off as police officers.

The authorities said they were reasonably confident they dismantled the core of an important terrorist cell, including the architects of the suspected plot, but Van der Sypt said more suspects could be at large. “I cannot confirm that we arrested everyone in this group,” he told reporters.

Across Europe, anxiety has grown as the hunt continues for accomplices of the three Paris gunmen. French police earlier told AP they were searching for up to six possible accomplices.

Journalist among 4 injured in Charlie Hebdo protest in Pak

Karachi: A photojournalist of AFP was shot at while three others were injured when activists of Pakistan’s right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami protesting against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo Friday clashed with police when they tried to enter the French consulate here. About 400 protesters from the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami were trying to get inside the French consulate but were stopped by police, leading to a showdown with security forces which fired tear gas and bullets in the air. A senior police official alleged that Jamaat activists continued…

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