Fears rise of pre-Christmas Al Qaeda terror attack in Europe after ten suspects arrested
Posted by sioespain en 24 noviembre, 2010
Fears are rising across Europe of an al-Qaeda outrage before Christmas as intelligence services work frantically to track down radicalised western nationals returning from terror camps in Pakistan.
Ten suspects holding Belgian, Dutch, Moroccan and Russian passports were arrested in Belgium, Germany and Holland.
Prosecutors spoke of a complex plot involving an ‘international Islamist group’ in Belgium although a specific target was not identified.
Media reports spoke of a Chechen element involving Islamic separatists embroiled in a long-running struggle with Moscow.
Meanwhile across the border in Germany it was widely reported that two members of a six-strong suicide squad were already in the country.
The famed glass dome of the Reichstag building in Berlin was closed to tourists indefinitely on Monday amid interior ministry warnings that a strike could be expected in November or early December.
The feeling among intelligence services is that al-Qaeda is prepared to ‘go for broke’ with a bloodbath before Christmas using westerners who have converted to Islam to avoid detection at air and seaports.
Two scenarios are on the table; a Mumbai-style massacre using automatic weapons stored at safe houses or suicide bomb attacks using explosives also stored among radicals within the country’s massive Muslim population.
Tuesday‘s raids – which have almost certainly prevented death and destruction in Belgium – were not linked to the Jihadists currently at loose in Germany.
They were the culmination of months of investigation. Most of the arrests took place in Antwerp, Belgium‘s second city, while one German was arrested in Aachen on the German border with Belgium.
At least some of them are suspected of links to terror suspect Bassam Ayachi, who was charged in 2009 with preparing terrorist attacks.
‘Long months of undercover investigation’ led to the arrests, the authorities said.
‘The suspects were using a jihadi website to plan an attack on an unspecified target in Belgium,’ police said.
The suspects were due to be presented to a judge and remanded in custody later on Tuesday.
Meanwhile in Germany security is being tightened ahead of the opening of the traditional Christmas markets which draw tens of thousands of international visitors each year, many from the UK.
Germans are facing the prospect of seeing armed troops on the streets for the first time since Hitler’s armies were destroyed in WW2 as police leaders tell politicians they cannot contain the mounting terror threat alone.
Klaus Jansen, head of the Professional Police Association, said; “We must assume that the exceptional circumstances for police through the acute terror danger will last long into the next year.
‘Law enforcement personnel alone will not be capable of sustaining that level of protection.’ He said the Bundeswehr, the German army, must be drafted in to help.
This would involve the breaking of a massive taboo in Germany that has been in place since the collapse of the Third Reich in 1945 and the start of a pacifistic streak which now runs deep through society.
Deploying troops on to the streets – a regular sight at Paris rail stations and tourist magnets – would be a massive jolt to the German psyche and would require a change in the current law which forbids such actions.
Lower Saxony Interior Minister Uwe Schuenemann of the conservative CDU backed the police calls and said it was time for Angela Merkel to get the troops out of the barrack and on to the streets.
Since interior minister Thomas de Maziere‘s warning of a terror plot last week security has spiked at dozens of locations across Germany. On Monday the world famous glass dome of the Reichstag parliament building was closed to tourists, fuelling fears that this was one of the targets for a Mumbai-style massacre of innocents which has been mooted in the media.
(Source: Daily Mail )