Greek police reportedly detain 4 terror suspects as Belgium deploys troops to cities – Fox News
Greek police detained four suspected terrorists in Athens on Saturday over alleged links to a Islamist terror plot in Belgium amid heightened anti-terror efforts across Europe, The Associated Press reported.
Greek police told The Associated Press that four terrorism suspects had been arrested separately in Athens and initially said that the arrests included a man who matched the description of the suspect Belgian authorities believe was behind a jihadi cell that was dismantled in Belgium on Thursday.
But after initial vetting in Brussels, federal magistrate Eric van der Sypt said the information they received showed there was no link.
Belgium has raised its terror warning to 3, the second-highest, following anti-terror raids there on Thursday which left two suspects dead and a third wounded amid fears they had been planning imminent attacks on police and their offices.
The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the country had deployed soldiers in major cities amid the heightened terror threat.
The country deployed 150 paratroopers Saturday to guard possible terrorism targets, including some buildings in Antwerp’s Jewish quarter. It was the first time in 30 years that authorities used troops to reinforce police, and they said the number of troops could double until a review of situation next week.
Thursday’s raids in Verviers, was one of 10 across the country that authorities say preempted an imminent terror attack against police targets, at a time when Europe is on edge following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France.
Fake IDs were found among the weapons cache, which included AK-47s.
French police arrested at least 12 people in anti-terrorism raids in three towns around Paris, the city prosecutor’s office said early Friday.
The prosecutor’s office said that the raids were targeting people with links to Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who attacked a kosher supermarket Jan. 9 and claimed ties to the Islamic State terror group. Police officials earlier told The Associated Press that they were seeking up to eight to 10 potential accomplices
Coulibaly was one of three gunmen who carried out a series of terror attacks that resulted in the deaths of 17 people. Authorities in France and several other countries are looking for possible accomplices. One suspect, Coulibaly’s common-law wife Hayat Boumeddiane, is believed to have fled to Syria earlier this month.
Berlin police said that they had taken two men into custody on suspicion that they were recruiting fighters and procuring equipment and funding for the Islamic State group, better known as ISIS, in Syria.
The two were picked up in a series of raids involving the search of 11 residences by 250 police officers. Authorities said the raids were part of a months-long investigation into a small group of extremists based in Berlin. However, they also said there was no evidence the group was planning attacks inside Germany.
The group’s leader, identified only as 41-year-old Ismet D. in accordance with privacy laws, is accused organizing the group of largely Turkish and Russian nationals to fight against “infidels” in Syria. Emin F., 43, is accused of being in charge of finances.
Those recruited include Murat S., a 40-year-old Turkish man who was arrested in September after returning from Syria where had allegedly gone to fight.
In an unrelated raid, German police arrested 26-year-old German-Tunisian dual national into custody Thursday on suspicion he had gone to fight with the terrorist group in Syria. Police made the arrest in Wolfsburg, 120 miles outside Berlin.
Earlier Thursday, Belgian authorities said they were looking into possible links between a man they arrested in the southern city of Charleroi for illegal trade in weapons and Coulibaly.
The man arrested in Belgium “claims that he wanted to buy a car from the wife of Coulibaly,” Van der Sypt said. “At this moment this is the only link between what happened in Paris.”
Van der Sypt said that “of course, naturally” we are continuing the investigation.
At first, the man came to police himself claiming there had been contact with Coulibaly’s common-law wife regarding the car, but he was arrested following a search of his premises when indications of illegal weapons trading were found.
A Belgian connection figured in a 2010 French criminal investigation into a foiled terrorist plot in which Coulibaly was one of the convicted co-conspirators. The plotters included a Brussels-area contact who was supposed to furnish both weapons and ammunition, according to French judicial documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Spain’s National Court said in a statement it was investigating what Coulibaly did in the country’s capital, Madrid, with Boumeddiene and a third person who wasn’t identified but is suspected of helping Boumeddiene get from Turkey to Syria.
The Associated Press contributed to this report