Violence Begets Violence

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Residence des Bois du Temple in Clichy-sous-Bois

Sometimes a story that looks like it’s about to explode (no pun intended) just sort of fizzles out.  That’s what happened recently with the arrest of some family members in Clichy-sous-Bois on February 28 and their subsequent indictment and imprisonment for criminal association in relation to a terrorist enterprise.  The story broke on March 1 some details spilled out over the next few days before going totally quiet after March 6.

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The “Sapling” Has A Different Root

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Murder of Aurelie Chatelain: reconstruction in Villejuif with Ghlam

A friend recently sent me an article by Matthieu Suc from March 23, 2016, that I had somehow missed.  Entitled “The terrorist networks of the Islamic state (2/3): the chain of command leading to the attacks,” it details the background stories of a few of the major figures involved in organizing attacks in France and Belgium.  One of them, the least well known by far of the group, is related to the fifth article I ever wrote for my blog.  His name is Abdelnacer Benyoucef. Continue reading

Laeken Arrests and the False Documents Business

A customs officer shows fake European Un
STEPHAN AGOSTINI/AFP/Getty Images

Belgian antiterrorism police carried out an operation in the late afternoon of last Tuesday in the Rue Albert in the Brussels suburb of Laeken.  A couple was arrested and charged with providing logistical support to the perpetrators of the November Paris attacks and the Brussels attacks.  The two were identified as Farid K. and Meryem E.B. in the press.  Two days later Farid’s surname was divulged as Kharkhach.  Kharkhach has been kept in detention since his arrest, but his wife has been released under strict conditions.  While she is charged with forgery and the use of forgery in writing, she does not share her husband’s additional charge of participation in the activities of a terrorist group. Continue reading

The Family That Moves to Raqqa Together…

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Nadir Boudouaia and others (Europe 1)

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything.  I’ve had other things going on and very few of the subjects and stories I have been researching have any overarching theme that makes them compelling reading.  Nevertheless, some of them may be of interest to other researchers or those just generally interested in the details and personalities behind the typical vanilla reports in much of the press. Continue reading

The Devil on Your Shoulder

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Apartment bloc in the Rue Rene Descartes, home to Julien Bataille (Le Parisien)

In the course of researching my last article on the “Swingers Club” plotters and trying to figure out the identity of Julien Le Prado, I came across another Julien, a fiche ‘S’ subject mentioned intermittently in the pages of Le Progres and other papers in the Lyon area: Julien Bataille (often see as Julien B.).  He was arrested on 16 September with respect to his activities as a recruiter of youth for jihadist causes, his ongoing communication with the wanted Rachid Kassim over Telegram, and for having made death threats against a police officer back in 2015—all the sorts of things that will earn one a charge of “criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise.”

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Waitin’ on the Bus

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French Police executed a series of arrests against suspected jihadists in Saint-Chamond (Loire), Lyon, and Amplepuis (Rhône) on February 2, 2016.  Initial reports spoke of six arrests, but later reports appear to show only five* related ones with another occurring around the same time in the same general region.  Authorities confirmed the group possessed bus tickets to Syria via Bulgaria and Turkey, allegedly to join the ranks of jihadists there.  Furthermore, they were suspected of plotting attacks against sex establishments, although this has not been confirmed by the investigations of the judicial police in Lyon and Anti-Terrorism Sub-Directorate (SDAT). Continue reading

Two New Identities From Nice

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Bouhlel and brother-in-law Hamdi Zagar

I was excited to see a couple pieces of the puzzle filled in today by the French paper Liberation, but before I give them too much credit, two of the missing names from those held in custody since the attacks have been out in the local Nice press since at least 14 September.  In an article in Nice Matin by Christophe Perrin entitled “Deux mois après”, two of the partial names from the investigation were revealed: Hamdi Z. is brother-in-law Hamdi Zagar/Zaghar and Mohamed Oualid/Walid G. is Mohamed Oualid Ghraieb. Continue reading

Nice and the Refugee Crisis

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Since late July, I’ve seen virtually nothing new regarding the Nice terror attacks.  For about two weeks following the attack, both the French and Italian press (and to a smaller extent the Albanian press) seemed to be making some headway in getting to the bottom of what happened, who helped Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel make it happen, and some of the suspicious movements he and his associates made in the last year and a half. Continue reading

The Young and the Restless

German special police forces escort a Syrian suspected of being members of Islamic State in Karlsruhe
German special police forces escort a Syrian suspected of being members of Islamic State outside the building of the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) in Karlsruhe, Germany September 13, 2016. Police raided asylum-seekers homes in northern Germany today , arresting three Syrians suspected of being members of Islamic State and awaiting instructions from them to take part in terror attacks. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Cells, plots, and threats of violence from unstable teens and twenty-somethings continue to issue forth on a near-daily basis in the highways and byways of Western Europe.  Here are three vignettes of the “new normal” from just this week. Continue reading

Desperation in Europe?

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Police officers stand guard as they take part in a raid in Boussy-Saint-Antoine, east of Paris, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. French police detained three women planning ‘imminent and violent action’ after a standoff Thursday linked to a terrorism investigation into six gas canisters found in a car abandoned near Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)/XTC102/16252777977527/1609082356

The more information that comes out about the female terror cell arrested in France this past week, the more ludicrous and self-defeating their efforts appear to be.  I’m not one to be dismissive about the dangers posed by groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, but if this is not some big misdirection, it certainly gives the feel that the Islamic State is beginning to grasp at straws to effect something spectacular on the Continent. Continue reading