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    Police stands guard in Verviers, eastern Belgium, on January 15, 2015, after two men were reportedly killed during an anti-terrorist operation

    Europe Intensifying Counterterrorist Raids Amid Paris Attacks

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    A week after a series of violent attacks shook France, terror threat levels skyrocketed across Europe as one by one western countries launched their own anti-terrorism raids.

    MOSCOW, January 16 (Sputnik) — Terror threat levels have been on the rise across Europe with anti-terrorism agencies launching raids in the wake of the deadly attacks in France that claimed the lives of 17 people last week.

    On Friday, German police raided 11 properties in Berlin, according to media reports. Two Turkish citizens were arrested, suspected of providing financial support to and recruiting for the Islamic State (IS) militant group. According to local media, one of them was the head of an Islamist extremist group, five members of which had been under police investigation for months. The police arrested a dual national with German and Tunisian citizenship suspected of being a member of IS in an unrelated operation. There is no evidence of plans of attacks in Germany from any of the detained individuals.

    On Thursday evening, police killed two suspects in a counterterrorism raid in eastern Belgium. After a gun battle unfolded in Verviers during the raid, two gunmen were shot and a third was wounded and taken into police custody. Officials stated that they were targeting "several people who we think are an operational cell," possibly from Syria. According to a member of the Prosecutor's Office, there is no connection to Paris attacks, with the suspects being targeted before attacks in the French capital took place.

    Local media reported early on Friday that French police have arrested at least 12 people linked to the hostage taker in the Parisian kosher grocery store. Amedy Coulibaly's potential accomplices were located in three towns close to the French capital. Those detained have been charged with providing weapons and "possible logistic support" to terrorists.

    Spain is currently investigating Coulibaly's stay in its capital with his wife prior to the attack, according to El Pais. An investigation has been ordered to determine whether he collaborated with any terrorist groups during his stay in Madrid over the New Year period.

    On January 7, the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo was attacked by terrorists, killing 12 people, 10 of whom were editorial staff, and injuring another 11. On January 8, a French female police officer was shot dead by a gunman in the Paris suburb of Montrouge. The following day, the suspected gunman killed four hostages in a kosher supermarket.

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    Tags:
    France, extremism, terrorist attack, hostage crisis, anti-terrorist operation, islamists, Charlie Hebdo, Germany, Europe
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