Belgium – A Belgian shopping centre was evacuated amid reports that three masked men had fired Kalashnikovs in a jeweller it was reported on the 22 Oct 16. Panicked shoppers were evacuated from the Cora shopping centre in Chatelineau, which is about 35 miles south of Brussels. Police Commissioner Eric De Brabander told news agency Belga: 'Two explosions were heard by witnesses, but the information could not be confirmed.' Four people have been treated for shock, but no one was seriously injured. Châtelineau's mayor, Daniel Vanderlick, told RTL: 'Shots were fired with a Kalashnikov.' Initial reports from Belgium suggest it was a robbery, and was not linked to terrorism. The armed trio are believed to have escaped in a car with stolen plates. Although the shopping centre has reopened after this morning's raid, it is understood stores closest to the jeweller remain shut. 361 COMMENT: Police later confirmed the incident was a robbery and not terrorist related: COMMENT ENDS
Germany/Da’esh – Police in Germany have stormed 13 buildings across the country after reports ISIS terrorists were planning an imminent attack it was reported on the 25 Oct 16. Anti-terror raids were launched on houses in Thuringia, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Bavaria as officers believed the threat was credible. Armed police accompanied by sniffer dogs conducted the raids after being sent to look for weapons and explosives. The operation came as part of an investigation into a 28-year-old Russian citizen of Chechen background suspected of intending to join the fighting in Syria on behalf of ISIS. The investigation later developed into a probe of 13 further individuals, 10 men and three women, suspected of financing extremist activity. Police said all were people of Chechen ethnicity with Russian citizenship seeking asylum in Germany, and whose status has not yet been decided. Police said there was no concrete danger of an imminent attack. The statement did not say whether anyone was arrested. Germany is on high terror alert after a wave of attacks this year, heaping pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door immigration policy. A bloody week of violence that rocked Germany began on July 18 when Pakistani teenager Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, 17, posing as an Afghan refugee, hacked at passengers on a train in Wurzburg with an axe, wounding five. He was shot dead by police. Four days later mentally unstable German-Iranian teenager Ali Sonboly shot nine people dead during a rampage through a shopping centre in Munich before taking his own life. Two days later a Syrian refugee, 21, hacked a pregnant woman to death in Reutlingen and on the same night Mohammed Daleel, 27, injured 12 people when he detonated a rucksack packed with metal shards and screws. Daleel carried out the attack on behalf of the terror group ISIS and had planned to kill hundreds by detonating him bomb at an open-air music festival.
Germany/Da’esh – Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency reported on the 31 Oct 16, said that the German authorities are preparing for possible terror attacks on German soil as pressure builds on ISIS in Iraq. The U.S.-led coalition’s operation to push ISIS out of Mosul could encourage ISIS supporters in Europe to carry out attacks, Maassen told German public radio Deutschlandfunk. “That is what we want to prevent and we are preparing ourselves accordingly,” the Maassen said. The number of German – and European — ISIS fighters who have returned home as a result of ISIS military retreat has been small so far, Maassen said. The number of Germans who have travelled to Syria and Iraq has fallen steadily from the summer of 2014 to August of this year, but the numbers have now levelled off, Maassen said. “My impression is that the fighting in Syria and Iraq is currently not so attractive for German jihadists,” he explained, adding that it could be “too dangerous to get there.” U.S. military sources say that many of the foreign fighters among the 4,500 jihadists in Mosul will probably form the core of the holdout jihadist force, preferring to die fighting rather than surrendering. Maassen told Deutschlandfunk that right-wing extremism is also a growing concern in Germany. “We are concerned that there could be right-wing terrorist individuals or individual cells in Germany,” he said. Specifically, Maassen named the “Old School Society” as a possible threat. He said the group, which has a nation-wide network, planned to carry out attacks on refugees and Salafists. Members of the far-right, populist “Reichsbürger” movement attacked and wounded four police officers during a shootout on 19 Oct 16 in Bavaria, and one of the officers later died of his injuries.
Maassen noted that anti-foreigner crimes rose by 116 percent in the last year.
Italy/Da’esh – A new report has revealed that Italian mafia gangs are providing ISIS fighters stationed in Libya with weapons in exchange for smuggled monumental antiquities it was reported on the 18 Oct 16. The mobs later put the invaluable antiquities back to the market, to sell it to art patrons and connoisseurs from Asia and Russia. According to the Intel published by the Italian newspaper La Stampa, and examined by Al Arabiya.net, an organized crime group in relation to the Italian mafia in the southern city of Calabria, are purchasing Kalashnikovs artilleries, rocket propelled grenades as well as rocket launchers from Moldova and Ukraine. The Italian Mafia in cooperation with the Russian Mafia smuggles these weapons to devolve them in the end in the hands of the ISIS fighters, based in the city of Sirte, Libya. In exchange for weapons, the Italian mob obtains Greek and Roman antiquities that ISIS fighters burglarized during their battles in Libya. An Italian journalist working at La Stampa went undercover. Pretending to be an art collector, he reached out to the crime group in Southern Italy. He eventually received an offer to snip an exceptionally unique piece , a head made of marble , sculpted in the ancient Roman era for a mere 60 thousand Euros. He later realized that the same artefact is one of the stolen antiquities looted by ISIS fighters, and displayed for sale in Southern Italy. The mafia also put in display pictures of a bust sculpture with larger proportions that dates to the ancient Greek era, for the price of 800 thousand Euros. As claimed by the Italian newspaper, the stolen treasures are shipped to the shores of Calabria in Southern Italy to be later auctioned to art collectors from China, Russia and Japan as well as the wealthy from Gulf countries. ISIS has established local militia in Libya to execute looting and smuggling, in an attempt from the organization to make profits from contraband. This same operation has already proven effective in Iraq and Syria. The newspaper revealed and for the first time, that Libyan archaeologists and geologists responsible for the archaeological sites in the country received death threats in an attempt to scare them off from reporting the violations committed by ISIS. There are five archaeological sites in Libya that are officially registered as world heritage sites by UNESCO, the specialized agency of the United Nations UN. On the other hand, La Stampa reported that Italian investigators from the security services affirmed that they have suspicions about the involvement of Mafia gangs in weapons trafficking for ISIS. An Italian security source stated that “Islamist fundamentalist fighters are well implicated in weapon and drug trafficking since the 1990s.” It is maintained that ISIS controls a number of restricted areas in Libya, yet it is widely believed that large numbers of fighters managed to escape Syria and Iraq as a result of the repeated military strikes, and are now stationed in the Libyan city of Sirt, where Libyan forces are fighting fierce battles to free their country.
United Kingdom – Security has been stepped up around the transport network in London, after a man was arrested over the discovery of a suspect device on a Tube train. The 19-year-old suspect was detained by armed police on the 21 Oct 16 afternoon in Holloway Road, north London. A Taser was discharged during the arrest. A controlled explosion was carried out on the suspicious item at North Greenwich station on Thursday morning. The suspect was taken to a London police station and was still in custody. Scotland Yard said the device was due to be forensically examined. Passengers have been told to expect to see more officers, including armed police, in and around transport hubs, while patrols by British Transport Police are in place on the Underground and at railway stations. The suspicious object was discovered on an eastbound Jubilee Line train at the south-east London station at about 1100 hrs BST. A source said the device was found by a member of the public and handed to a Tube driver. The driver treated it as a suspicious and said it contained "wires and possibly a clock". The station was evacuated and members of the Met's bomb squad carried out the explosion, after the item was described as looking "real enough". The Met said officers were keeping an open mind regarding any possible motive but said they were not looking for anyone else in relation to their investigation at this stage.
United Kingdom/Da’esh – The U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA) and Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command reported on the 31 Oct 16, in a rare public statement, said that terrorists had tried to get their hands on a large quantity of weapons in order to launch wide-scale gun attacks in Britain. The details have emerged as a result of investigations in the wake of five jihadist terror plots which have been foiled in the last two years. The investigation into the origins and background of the five foiled plots has also discovered that 800 legally owned guns had gone missing. The Daily Mail reports that the National Crime Agency and Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command urged the public to report suspicions about lax gun security and gun handling by legal owners of guns, as well as criminals handling firearms. The two security agencies say that the public appeal – and intensified activity by the two agencies’ agents – come against the backdrop of British law enforcement, security, and intelligence services trying to thwart terrorist attacks similar to those which ISIS carried out in Paris in November 2015. Britain has much stricter gun safety laws than the United States — where would-be terrorists can buy guns at gun shows because these shows do not require background checks — so terrorists would more likely get firearms from criminals. The British police say they have noticed an upsurge in guns on the streets in London and some other big urban areas. Mark Rowley, in charge of counter-terrorism for the U.K. police, said: “Despite our good work we know that firearms can enter the criminal market through a variety of means, including thefts from legitimate holders or dealers. Law enforcement, together with security and intelligence services, are working tirelessly to locate these weapons, confront the terrorist threat and keep the public safe.” Rowley said of ten plots disrupted in the last two years, half had involved jihadists wanting to get guns. The NCA director general, Lynne Owens, said: “Suppressing the availability of illegal firearms in the U.K. has never been a more significant priority for the law enforcement community. Criminal networks, who think nothing about who they sell firearms to, present a significant route by which extremist groups will try to access the sort of weapons used in recent attacks in Europe.”