Islamists expand war to Europe
By Claude Salhani -- Trend:
The self-appointed caliph of the Islamist State had promised he would extend the war to the West and it appears that he is keeping his word. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi could be dispatching cells all across Europe, according to a Lebanese intelligence source cited in the French language daily, L'orient-Le Jour. European intelligence sources have corroborated that information.
After France, security services are on the lookout for sleeper cells in Belgium and Germany.
Communicating through the popular Internet social networking site Twitter, the Islamists arrogantly mocked the Belgian security services, calling them "stupid" and "idiotic," but in the end, the Belgians had the last laugh.
For several weeks now and well before the Paris attack on the offices of the satirical weekly publication, Charlie Hebdo, Belgian authorities had the Islamists - who had recently returned from fighting in the ranks of the so-called Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq under surveillance. While there are no exact numbers regarding how many European Muslims have gone to fight in Iraq and/or Syria, it is believed that there could be about 1,500 in France alone.
Belgian police decided they should intervene and gave the assault. Two terrorists were killed and a third was captured and the Belgian intelligence services are not looking too shabby, "idiotic" or "stupid."
Belgian authorities were still looking for clues early Friday after security services engaged in a gunfight with the suspected terrorists. A government spokesman later said that the terrorists had planned to launch a "Belgian Charlie Hebdo" attack.
"They were on the verge of committing important terror attacks," federal magistrate Eric Van der Sypt said at a news conference in Brussels.
But after France and Belgium, Germany in on high alert this Friday amid reports that some 50 members of the Islamist State are reported to have infiltrated the country.
All 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.
And if all this is not enough to scare you, then think about this: In another development, 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.
Claude Salhani is senior editor with Trend Agency and a specialist in terrorism and politicized Islam. You can follow Claude on Twitter @Claudesalhani