The Latest French Terror Plot

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Ameroud incapacitated at the tram station

As I wrote in my last post, French police arrested Reda Kriket on Thursday, March 24, in Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine.  He led police to another apartment in Argenteuil (Val-d’Oise).  The 34-year-old Kriket was well-known to both French and Belgian authorities as a jihadist fundraiser who traveled himself to Syria in 2014.  He was convicted in the “La filière syrienne” trial in Belgium last year with Abaaoud, recruiter Khalid Zerkani (Papa Noël), and a host of other foreign fighters—some of whom are already dead. Continue reading

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A Flurry of Activity Around Europe

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Due to other requirements on my time, I was forced to sit back for a few days and watch as things unfolded in the aftermath of the Brussels bombings.  Thankfully, this was so, because we’ve seen raid upon raid and arrest after arrest since late last week with little clarity added to the picture since then.  All that seems to be apparent is that the situation is far more complex and worrisome than authorities have either believed or made known to the public before now. Continue reading

The Perpetrators of the Belgian Bombings and Some Burning Questions

Here are the facts as they currently stand with respect to perpetrators of Tuesday’s attacks, and they are somewhat surprising if you’ve been paying attention.  At least four people were involved—three according to CCTV footage from Zaventem airport, and one at the metro station at Maelbeek.  Authorities have confirmed the identity of one of the bombers at the airport and the one who bombed the metro station.  They are the El Bakraoui brothers who the media had briefly speculated were the two individuals who had fled the raid in Forest, which kicked off the whole chain of events with respect to Salah Abdeslam’s capture and this week’s attack. Continue reading

The Capture of Salah Abdeslam

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As John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things.”  In the case of the Paris attacks, the facts are stubbornly hard to come by.  In the fast-moving events of the past few days, news outlets with “sources close to the investigation” have provided us with facts that have quickly turned out to be rumors, leaving us with more questions.  Some of this can be laid at the feet of the desire to be the first to break the news, but some of it can be attributed to the Islamic State’s ability to disguise and deceive.  We know who Salah Abdeslam is.  Some of the operatives he and Abaaoud brought into Europe we don’t seem to really know anything about. Continue reading

More on the Brussels Anti-Terror Raid

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El Bakraoui Brothers

When six anti-terror investigators went yesterday to the apartment at 60 Rue du Dries, they were not expecting any resistance.  The lease had been terminated and the water and electricity had been shut off long ago.  The search was being conducted to check false identities linked to the “entourage of the 11 Belgians charged in relation to the Paris killings”. Continue reading

Gunfire at Brussels Raid and Veteran French Terrorist Arrested

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A counterterrorism raid in the Rue du Dries of the Brussels district of Forest (Vorst) went awry on Tuesday when police became involved in a shootout with the suspects.  The raid, which began between 2:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon, was connected to the Paris attacks, and both Belgian and French officers were involved.  Four officers were wounded, and an unnamed suspect, said to be clutching a Kalashnikov, was killed.  Belgian authorities said that the operation was still ongoing that evening but could not say how many other suspects were being sought. Continue reading

French Press Further Unmasks Islamic State Operatives in Salzburg

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Muhammad Usman and Adel Haddadi

French newspaper Le Monde ran with a story Wednesday telling us a little more about the two feaux refugees held in custody by Austrian authorities since early December.  Le Parisien on Saturday was so kind as to dispense with the initials and give us the full names, both aliases and real.  I previously wrote about them and their path into Europe on February 17, based on information reported in Der Spiegel. Continue reading