After the terrorist plot to kill police was discovered in Belgium and arrests made, the country has deployed hundreds of troops to provide protection for Jewish institutions and to back up the police. The government there has called up 300 soldiers to help at various locations throughout the country.
After the raid on the apartment in Verviers, which resulted in many arrests and the deaths of two terrorist suspects, Belgium has been on a state of high alert. So far, 20 terrorist suspects have been arrested in a unified search for terrorists in Belgium, Germany, and France.
The city of Verviers, Belgium, has many Jews living there. Some of the troops have been sent to various locations in that city to protect Jewish institutions and schools. They are also helping to guard international sites such as U.S. and Israeli embassies located in Brussels, and also the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Union buildings. Some troops are also in Antwerp, which is a center for diamond-trading, and the city also has a large number of orthodox Jews living there.
Because there was such a strong threat against the police from terrorists, the military will be helping the police through this coming Thursday. At that time, the terror level will be reassessed and the need for the soldiers additional protection.
Four terror suspects have been arrested in Greece. It is believed that one of them may have been in touch with the terrorists at Verviers. The Associated Press has stated that the man could be the suspected leader of the Verviers cell, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. In order to verify his identity, DNA samples and fingerprints will have to be sent to Belgium.
The terror plot to kill policemen in Verviers has spread fears that an attack like the one on the Charlie Hebdo paper may occur in various places throughout Europe. No connection between them has yet been found.
Many possible terrorists are in the country of Belgium. The country has had more people who went to go and fight in Syria and Iraq with ISIS, about 450, than any other country in Europe. The government believes that around 150 have returned.
On Saturday, three other people have been arrested in Belgium for making threats against the police. They are scheduled to go before a judge on Sunday and the judge will determine whether or not they will be formally arrested.
In order to further plans to help minimize the threat of terrorists, Prime Minister Cameron of England is now in the United States. He will be having two days of talks with President Obama to further develop strategies on how to better fight terrorism.
The newspaper Charlie Hebdo continues to be popular in some places, and totally unwanted in others. The group had an initial circulation of around 60,000 before the attack, but it will be printing seven million copies this next time around. With a cartoon image of Mohammed on the front cover, Muslims in countries such as Algeria, Pakistan, and Niger have risen in anger and rioted.
The director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, has stated that the ongoing threat of terror attacks remains an “urgent and very serious challenge.” He also noted that it will be difficult to contain the threat, but we will prevail.
Belgium may be the first country to have deployed troops to provide protection for citizens and property after a serious terrorist plot was discovered, and it will probably not be the last. It is possible that other countries may also need to raise their terror alert levels, too.
By Mike Valles