BERLIN — French, German and Belgian police continued anti-terrorism sweeps on Friday, arresting more than two dozen suspects as they scrambled to clamp down on networks of potential attackers with links to Islamic extremists.
In Germany, 250 police officers and three special commandos raided 11 apartments and one mosque in Berlin on Friday morning, arresting two Turkish men, a police spokesman confirmed to Mashable.
The raid targeted a logistics cell that authorities say has radicalized young people. Police say there is evidence that they were preparing a terror attack in Syria. There was no indication that an attack in Germany had been planned.
Police confiscated cellphones, PCs and clothing in the raids. The two Turkish men, 41 and 43, are now in custody in Berlin.
Officials said they had been investigating five individuals for months — the two now in custody, as well as three others who were not arrested but are suspected of having been involved in the preparation of a terror attack in Syria.
Meanwhile, 13 more people were detained in Belgium and two arrested in France in an anti-terror sweep following a firefight Thursday in the eastern Belgian city of Verviers.
Two suspected terrorists were killed and a third was wounded in that raid on a suspected terrorist hideout, and federal magistrate Eric Van der Sypt said Friday that the suspects were within hours of implementing a plan to kill police on the street or in their offices.
Belgian authorities were searching for more suspects Friday, and found four military-style weapons including Kalashnikov assault rifles in more than a dozen raids, Van der Sypt said.
Across Europe, anxiety has grown as the hunt continues for potential accomplices of the three Paris gunmen.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said at least 12 people were arrested in anti-terrorism raids in the area, targeting people linked to one of them — Amedy Coulibaly — who claimed ties to the Islamic State group. Police officials earlier told The Associated Press that they were seeking up to six potential accomplices.
Rob Wainwright, head of the police agency Europol, said that foiling terror attacks has become “extremely difficult” because Europe’s 2,500-5,000 radicalized Muslim extremists have little command structure and are increasingly sophisticated.
Also on Friday, a bomb scare forced Paris to evacuate its busy Gare de l’Est train station during the morning rush hour. No bomb was found.
Adding to the tension, an armed man was holding at least two hostages in a post office in Colombes, a Paris suburb, French media reported. The man was known to police and the situation was not believed to be related to terrorism, BFMTV said.
John Kerry was in Paris on Friday, meeting with President Hollande and leaving a tribute at the site of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
Hollande thanked Kerry for offering support, saying: “You’ve been victims yourself of an exceptional terrorist attack on Sept. 11. You know what it means for a country. … Together, we must find appropriate responses.”
In a separate speech to diplomats, Hollande said France is “waging war” against terrorism and will not back down from its international military operations against Islamic extremists in Iraq and northern Africa. France’s Parliament voted this week to extend airstrikes against Islamic State extremists in Iraq.
Read more: mashable
Additional reporting by The Associated Press