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

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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

A Few More Details Emerge on Dahmani

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Dahmani under arrest in Antalya

The last few days have brought some new pieces of information about a presumed accomplice of the Paris attackers who has been under arrest in Turkey since November 16, Ahmed Dahmani.  I referenced him in a previous article about his former boxing mate and Abdeslam associate, Ayoub Bazarouj.  Dahmani, 26, flew out of Amsterdam the day following the Paris attacks to Turkey, where he was eventually arrested by authorities in Antalya at a five-star hotel where he was meeting with Syrian-national ISIS operatives, Ahmet Tahir and Mohammed Verd.  He was supposedly in the process of being ferried into Islamic State territory by the two. Continue reading

Larger Designs

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A very unexpected piece of news emerged from the Paris attacks investigation on the 17th. The Belgian daily La Dernière Heure reported that Belgian investigators carrying out house searches in December discovered several hours (ten actually) of surveillance video. Authorities were ultimately unable to determine the date it was taken, but were able to identify the house being surveilled. It belonged to a senior Belgian nuclear official who had access to secure areas of a nuclear research facility in Mol. Continue reading

Spiegel Gives More Detail on Salzburg Suspects’ Identities and Travel

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Mohammad G. A. and Adel H.

The day after writing my Cold Comfort article reporting on the new information revealed in Bild am Sonntag (BamS) about the two IS suspects arrested in Salzburg, Spiegel Online ran with an article giving firmer information on the matter. A whole series of aliases for the two were provided as well as details about their travel over the Balkan route.  Furthermore, the article gave some insight into the thinking of officials and analysts and how it’s evolved in light of what happened in Paris. Continue reading

Islamic State Operatives in Salzburg

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LeParisien revealed important new details on February 13 related to the arrest of two suspected Islamic State associates in Salzburg, Austria.  The two were arrested on the weekend of December 12-13, 2015.  Few details were given at the time and some of those turned out to be wrong.  At first the two were described as possibly French citizens, but that was quickly corrected.  In fact, neither of the two males were from Europe at all—one was a 28-year-old from Algeria and the other a 34-year-old from Pakistan.  They had entered Greece as Syrian refugees and made their way to Austria via the Balkan route.  They were arrested living in the refugee center in the old Autobahnmeisterei on Münchner Bundestrasse 54.  Authorities indicated that the two possibly had connection to the attacks in Paris the month before. Continue reading

The Investigation Continues…

There have been quite a few new developments in a little over the past week related to the Paris attacks.  I will try to adequately summarize what’s occurred.

The Suicide Bomber of St Denis

A major identification was announced on January 14th when authorities revealed that the individual who detonated a suicide vest in the flat on the rue du Corbillon in St Denis was named Chakib Akrouh.  Akrouh had been known to authorities in Belgium and had even been convicted in absentia late last summer in a trial of 32 individuals involved in the Belgian pipeline of foreign fighters to Syria.  He was also named the third gunman involved in shooting up the cafés on the night of the attacks based on a DNA match to one of the recovered Kalashnikovs. Continue reading

Tracking Down the Conductors

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Bouzid and Kayal at Western Union

On December 30, Le Monde went to press with a story revealing that the Paris attacks had been coordinated from Belgium in real time, based on their reading of over 6000 records related to the investigation.  The public had thus far been under the impression that Abdelhamid Abaaoud had been running the show, but the information showed that somebody in Belgium had coordinated the three teams, which Abaaoud could not have done as the driver for the attacks on the cafés.  By January 6, La Libre Belgique reported that the coordinators in Belgium were the mysterious Soufiane Kayal and Samir Bouzid.  No information was given as to how this was determined. Continue reading

A Family Affair

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Ayoub Bazarouj

In the spate of raids and arrests following the Friday the 13th attacks in Paris, authorities focused intensely on the Brussels district of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (Sint-Jans-Molenbeek), with one house receiving special scrutiny.  Police conducted an operation at 47 rue Delaunoy on November 16 beginning at 10:15 in the morning and continuing for over 4 hours.  The reported target was fugitive Salah Abdeslam, but he was not discovered.  One person was brought in according to reports, but authorities stated that it was for administrative purposes and no information was given about who lived at that location [Note: I subsequently discovered an article from LaCapitale.be about a raid on the home of Mohamed Bazarouj, friend of the Abdeslam brothers, on the rue Delaunoy dated November 17]. Continue reading