Yesterday's terror raids in Belgium stopped, at the last minute, a terrorist plan to kill police officers in the street, officials say. Two suspected terrorists were shot dead in the series of raids, and another 15 were arrested in Belgium and France, the Guardian reports. Authorities were working to take down what they say was an active terror cell rooted in the two countries; the two gunmen killed in Verviers—and a third one who was wounded and among those detained—are believed to have been part of a "homegrown cell of jihadists" just recently back in Europe from Syria. Police found ammo, weapons including explosives, police uniforms, communication devices, and cash; they say the terrorists' plan also targeted buildings in Belgium, and several Jewish schools have been closed after warnings they could be targets. More:
- The Gare de l’Est train station in Paris was also evacuated after a bomb scare today, and Europe is on high alert for potential attacks.
- Officials say there is no link between the Belgium raids and last week's Paris terror attacks, but one notes that "a second potential Paris has been averted" with these raids. (Another 10 suspected terrorists allegedly linked to the Charlie Hebdo attacks were arrested in Paris today.)
- A Western intelligence source tells CNN that as many as 180 people in as many as 20 sleeper cells are primed to attack France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. And European security services have gotten tips that ISIS may be telling Europeans who have joined up in Syria and Iraq to launch attacks on their home soil; security agencies are investigating people recently returned from those countries.
- Separately, Germany arrested three men suspected of being involved with ISIS, but none appear to have been planning attacks.
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