Europe, France to unveil anti-terror plans

2015-01-21 08:26

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - French and European officials will unveil details of anti-terror measures on Wednesday to counter threats of new attacks and strengthen co-operation in the wake of deadly shootings in Paris.

In the French capital, on high alert since jihadist attacks left 17 dead two weeks ago, Prime Minister Manuel Valls will outline promised measures to boost security forces.

The worst attack on French soil in decades put Europe on high alert and a wave of police raids, investigations and extraditions have taken place across the jittery continent.

European Commissioners in Brussels will meet to discuss the 28-nation bloc's new counter-terrorism strategy, including changes to the region's Schengen free travel area and intelligence co-operation.

Terror victims

Meanwhile in Washington, President Barack Obama said the US stood side by side with terror victims around the world, citing the Paris attacks in his State of the Nation address late on Tuesday.

"We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks," he said, vowing action against "terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies".

Last week Valls announced the creation of special files for people linked to terrorism, and said prisoners linked to radical Islam could be isolated in jail, a hotbed for radicalisation.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said intelligence services could receive additional funding while security forces could get more powerful weapons and improved equipment.

According to a source, $460m will go to the police for hiring, upgrading information systems and equipment.

Raids, arrests across Europe

Four men suspected of supplying one of the gunmen behind the Paris attacks with weapons and vehicles were brought before an anti-terror judge on Tuesday, the first to face possible charges over the shootings that shook France to its core.

The three gunmen who carried out coordinated attacks from January 7-9 were killed in dramatic police sieges, and prosecutors are now hoping to pin down those who assisted them.

Prosecutors called on Tuesday for the men believed to have supplied gunman Amedy Coulibaly with weapons and vehicles to remain in detention and be charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts.

Coulibaly was behind the murder of four hostages at a Jewish supermarket and the murder of a police officer after brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi gunned down 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The attacks prompted a flurry of police activity across Europe.

In Germany some 200 police carried out raids on 13 apartments in Berlin and other locations to find evidence against two men arrested last week for allegedly backing jihadist violence in Syria.

This followed raids in Belgium last week that foiled potential attacks against police officers, and led to arrests in several European countries.

Greece on Tuesday ordered the extradition of a 33-year-old Algerian man with suspected links to the jihadist cell dismantled in Belgium.

The suspected mastermind of the plot, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan descent, remains at large.

And in Bulgaria, a court ruled that a Frenchman who knew two of the Paris attackers should be returned to his home country.

France had issued an arrest warrant for Muslim convert Fritz-Joly Joachin, 29, who denies being an extremist but was detained after trying to cross from Bulgaria into Turkey before the attacks.

In southern France, five Russians from Chechnya were arrested on Tuesday with what police described as a dangerous amount of explosives, although the case was believed to be linked to organised crime and not radical Islam.

Boosted security measures

Many EU states have pushed for a US-style database of air travellers' details on the grounds that it would help track Islamist suspects, but the European Parliament has so far blocked the scheme saying it would breach civil liberties.

Some European nations have also been pushing for a tightening of the Schengen visa-free zone.

"They will discuss subjects including passenger name records and data retention, the functioning of the Schengen area and co-operation between security services," Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas told a briefing on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's meeting.

The fallout from the attacks has led to massive protests in Muslim countries, furious after Charlie Hebdo magazine responded to the killing of its staff by publishing a new cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed.

Banned by Islam, the depiction of the prophet was taken as a searing insult to Muslims who burned French flags, and threatened the country in protests that have taken place in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Gaza, Iran and Pakistan.

In Niger protests turned deadly as 10 people died and dozens of churches were torched.

The attacks have forced France to face up to its failure to integrate poorer, migrant families, with Valls admitting on Tuesday that the country was plagued by "social and ethnic apartheid".

Read more on:    charlie hebdo  |  barack obama  |  prophet muhammed  |  france  |  us  |  paris shooting

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.