Jihadi veterans have been seeking to cause disarray among European intelligence agencies with hoax attacks that distract from real ones and attempts to infiltrate public agencies and companies. As a result security official are having huge difficulties in trying to measure the true scale of the terrorist threat that faces us. In the last of this lengthy series of investigations on Islamic State's intelligence operations, Matthieu Suc reports on the dangers still posed by jihadist agents operating within Europe despite Islamic State's major reverses in Iraq and Syria.
The attacks in Brussels on Tuesday March 22nd highlight once again how Belgium has become a nerve centre of jihadist terrorism in Europe, as well as being a target itself. The Belgian network led by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who led the November 13th bombings in Paris, was very active while the logistical 'expert' for the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested just last week, is suspected of having been involved in planning the latest attacks in the Belgian capital. Earlier this year, meanwhile, Europol warned of the risk of more attacks. As Belgian authorities identified three men with links to the Paris attacks as the Brussels suicide bombers, Matthieu Suc and Yann Philippin consider how Belgium has become a terrorist hub.
In the early hours of November 18th, 2015 officers from the French police's elite antiterrorism unit RAID staged an assault on a flat at Saint-Denis, just north of Paris. The operation led to the death of two terrorists who had carried out the attacks in Paris on November 13th. Mediapart has discovered that though the police claim they came under “sustained” fire during the assault, in fact the terrorists in the flat only fired eleven rounds, against more than 1,500 from police officers. Most of the shots sustained by the police came from their own officers. Matthieu Suc reports.