By Claude Salhani- Trend:
Belgian authorities were still looking for clues early Friday after police killed two people and detained one in raids aimed at jihadists returning from Syria who were planning to launch a "Belgian Charlie Hebdo" attack, officials said.
Special police units and members of the anti-terror brigade were searching in and around the city of Verviers, where the raid took place, and the greater Brussels area as part of a weeklong investigation that started well before the terrorism spree last week that led to 17 deaths in the Paris area. The Belgian operations had no apparent link to the terrorist acts committed in France.
And, unlike the Paris terrorists, who attacked the office of a satirical newspaper and a kosher grocery store, the suspects in Belgium were reportedly aiming at hard targets: police installations.
"They were on the verge of committing important terror attacks," federal magistrate Eric Van der Sypt said at a news conference in Brussels.
The Belgian police decided to launch the raid after it became evident that the terrorists were about to launch their attack.
Across Europe, anxiety has grown as the manhunt continues for potential accomplices of the three Paris terrorists, all of whom were shot dead by French police. Authorities in Belgium signaled they were ready for more trouble by raising the national terror alert level from 2 to 3, the second-highest level.
In another development, the group known as the Islamic State claims that it is now in possession of uranium from Mosul University, which it will use in a "dirty bomb."
"O by the way Islamic State does have a Dirty bomb. We found Radioactive material from Mosul university," a member identifying himself as Muslim al-Britani said on Twitter, the London daily newspaper, the Mirror had reported earlier.
"We'll find out what dirty bombs are and what they do. We'll also discuss what might happen if one actually went off in a public area."
The Sunni radical then ruminated on what would happen if the terrorist group detonated such a bomb in London, saying it would be "be more of a disruptive than a destructive weapon."
The news was further reported in The Washington Times on Thursday.
A dirty bomb is a conventional explosive device packed around nuclear material. It does not have the same devastating results as a nuclear bomb, but can contaminate the immediate area of the explosion, rendering inhabitable for decades.
In another report unrelated to the above, German security forces have reason to believe that up to 50 members of the Islamic State have infiltrated the country and are preparing to carry out attacks similar to the ones perpetrated in Paris earlier this month.
Reports in a Lebanese newspaper this month also reported that Lebanese security services had relayed intelligence to European countries of possible attacks being organized by the Islamic State against them.
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