More Than 2 Dozen Arrested In France, Belgium In Anti-Terror Raids
Overnight, police in France, Belgium and Germany arrested more than two dozen people suspected of having ties to terrorism.
In Paris, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that police moved in at dawn and arrested about a dozen people, who police said were tied to Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, who attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, and Amedy Coulibaly, who attacked a kosher market in eastern Paris.
"These people are said to have been in their entourage," Eleanor told our Newscast unit. "They may have helped them to obtain cars, guns or may have been drivers."
The BBC reports that in the Brussels area, police broke up a terrorism plot when they arrested 13 suspects.
The arrests followed a standoff last night that left two men dead.
The BBC reports:
"Guns, munitions and explosives, as well as police uniforms and a large amount of money, were seized during the raids, prosecution spokesman Thierry Werts told reporters.
"Eric Van Der Sypt, another spokesman, added: 'The investigation ... has shown that these people had the intention to kill several policemen in the street and at police commissariats [police stations].
" 'The operation was meant to dismantle a terrorist cell ... but also the logistics network behind it,' he said. No link had been established with last week's attacks in Paris, Mr Van Der Sypt said, adding that Belgium would seek the extradition of the two suspects in France."
The investigation that led to these arrests, Van Der Sypt said, started before the Paris attacks.
"Also Friday, 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 [of] 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."
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