A Year After the Thalys Attack And Still No Answers on Ayoub El Khazzani

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I was in the bookstore the other day and noticed a new book on the shelves of the Current Affairs section titled, “The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes” by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Jeffrey E. Stern.  I pulled it off with interest because I had recently been doing my own research on Ayoub El Khazzani, the perpetrator of the attack and hoped to pick up some new information.  Sadly, there didn’t seem to be anything new in the book on that front, but it’s probably a good a time as any to lay out to you what I have found. Continue reading

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Updates From Around Belgium

The Jumet Case: More Identities and Linkages to France

On Tuesday, Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure (DH) reported interesting new information about the case of jihadist cell emanating out of Jumet/Charleroi.  When I wrote on the topic a month ago, only partial identities had been released, but I was able to work out a couple of them.  One of those was confirmed in this report, which leads me to believe I was correct about both of them.  Unfortunately, the DH article is a subscription-only item, so I have only the opening blurb to work from.  Nevertheless, it gives me enough to advance the story a little. Continue reading

A Trip to the Bookstore

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Recently I’ve been casting about for what to write on next, but I keep coming back to Belgium.  There’s just so much there and so many avenues to research, no pun intended.  That brings me to the February 2016 trial in Brussels of over 30 terrorism subjects, a trial that seems to be turning into an annual event.  Early on one of the suspects, Khalid Zerkani, was split out for his own separate trial, and like most Belgian terror trials, few of the accused were actually present.  One of those accused was actually on-the-loose in Brussels itself and would vaporize himself inside Zaventem airport a month later—Najim Laachraoui. Continue reading

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

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 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