sábado, 17 de janeiro de 2015

Belgium anticipates attack, kills "jihadists" and Prime Minister throws warning

"Fear has switched to the side of the terrorists," said Thursday night the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. The statement by way of warning emerged at the end of an emergency meeting after the vast anti-terrorist operation launched by Belgian police in several cities, in which were killed two alleged "jihadists" and that have avoided a large-scale bombing in Belgium, as the spokesman for the Belgian Federal Prosecutor.

Two jihadists killed by police in #Verviers, near Liege. They were ready to attack. Big search operation in Brussels by police.

"The police actions were conducted under an ongoing investigation about an operational cell formed by people, some of whom had just returned from Syria last week. The investigation has allowed us to discover that this group was preparing to commit a large-scale terrorist attack in Belgium, an attack is imminent, "said Thierry Werts.

The spokesman also revealed that the suspects "opened fire immediately, using weapons of war of type ' kalashnikov '". "Two suspects have died, a third was arrested at the scene. No civilian or police officer were wounded, "added Werts.

2 people reported killed in Verviers anti-terror operation Belgium police block roads. pic.twitter.com/qrd8d7jrke

A witness to the operation in Verviers, Emrick Bertholet, was in shock: "I heard the sound of grenades and bursts of gunfire. I was in shock, with a little fear and also surprised, for this could happen here. " The site has been secured and is being examined in detail by the scientific police. Four machine guns "kalashnikov" and material used in the manufacture of explosives were collected.

With Charles Michel to assume that "the Government is determined to combat those who seek to sow terror," the Belgian Prosecutor's representative, Eric van der Sijpt clarified that for the moment "," no connection was established with the bombings of Paris ", where a week ago killed 17 people.

The Belgian justice is still trying to confirm a possible link between a known arms dealer living in the country and Amédy Coulibaly, the terrorist who attacked the supermarket Jew in Paris and killed four people. This drug dealer, to what has been determined, will have bought the car that belonged to Hayat Boumeddiene, the companion of Coulibaly, who is wanted by the police, but that may have been able to flee to Syria.

The Belgian antiterrorist operation broke, however, the town of Verviers, in the East of the country, started at the end of Thursday afternoon and spread to the capital Brussels and Vilvoorde. More than a dozen raids were carried out across the Belgium, with special attention on capital also of the European Union, Brussels, and the surrounding area, where the operation was prolonged by dawn and should continue this Friday. The most important work is done, but arrests are still expected, "assumed Eric van der Sijpt.

Map of Belgium with Verviers highlighted, so you can get your geographical bearings. #Belgique pic.twitter.com/uKXpgoT1zt

The Belgium was the scene last May of a terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Mehdi Nemmouche, carrying a French passport, returned from Syria a few months earlier, killed four people there. Following the operation of this Thursday and after being warned of potential danger, the Belgian Jewish community decided to close the respective schools in the localities of Anvers and Brussels. The alert level was, however, increased to three, a maximum of four, in police stations and in the "campus" of Belgian Justice.

Official data that more than 330 Belgians will have left the country to go fight in Syria. Half a hundred have died, but about 100 will be returned to Belgium. The city of Verviers is considered one of the main "nests" of Islamic radicals in the country.

Newspaper in Verviers on the eve of the antiterrorist operation: "why our region is fertile in jihadists ' pic.twitter.com/h4ddLnlUVU

Of Francisco Marques | With LUSA, AFP, REUTERS

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