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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Brussels’

Subways, Schools Closed as Terrorized Brussels Remains in Lockdown

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Mass transit in the subway system will remain shut down in the Belgian capital on Monday, as the city of Brussels remains at its highest alert.

Schools are also closed in the city due to the “serious and imminent” threat of a coordinated terrorist threat similar to that which took place in Paris just over a week ago.

Security officials have also recommended that sports events be canceled and shopping malls and commercial centers be closed as well.

Prime Minister Charles Michel, who chaired a national security council meeting on Sunday, told reporters at a news conference, “We fear an attack like that in Paris, with several individuals, with arms and explosives could launch an attack … perhaps even in several places.”

The city is home to more than one million residents, who have all been urged to avoid venues where crowds may gather – in short, most places in the European capital.

Nevertheless, the prime minister also asked Belgians to remain calm. “We urge the public not to give in to panic, to stay calm. We have taken the measures that are necessary,” he said.

Brussels is home to the headquarters for the European Union, for NATO and for a host of smaller international organizations as well.

Security has been ramped up for all of these offices. It is not clear, however, whether extra protection has also been assigned to the Belgium national Jewish museum in Brussels, the first site to be attacked by Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists in the city last year.

Museum officials had to beg the government for upgraded security protection prior to the re-opening of the facility; even then, it was never entirely clear whether the museum actually received the assistance it requested.

Numerous other sites around the city are reportedly receiving protection, however. Nevertheless, officials are edgy since finding out Brussels is at the center of a terror plot to strike numerous targets.

Several suspects were arrested in raids across the country following the Paris attacks on November 13, but more are free, highlighting the urgency of tracking the terrorists down.

Salah Abdeslam, 26, is one of the fugitives from the Paris attacks who is the subject of an intense manhunt in Belgium. A citizen of France, Abdeslam arrived in Belgium, where he once lived, in a car from France the morning after the attacks. Although he was questioned three times by authorities, he was apparently allowed to pass, and simply disappeared.

His brother Ibrahim Abdeslam, also a former resident of Belgium, committed suicide during the Paris attacks; he was one of the seven terrorists killed in the massacre either through suicide or shot by police. Another terrorist who was a former Belgian resident, Bilal Hadfi, was also among those killed.

Belgian citizen Abdelhamid Aba’aoud, 28, was suspected to have been the ringleader of the Paris attacks. He was killed in a police raid last Wednesday along with two accomplices in a northern Paris suburb, French officials said.

At least 130 people died and more than 350 were wounded in the Paris massacre.

Fears of Imminent Paris-like Attack in Brussels

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel announced on Sunday, Nov. 22, that his nation’s capital remains in a state of emergency and all schools and the entire subway system will remain closed on Monday, Nov. 23.

Brussels is maintaining the highest terror alert for a “serious and imminent” threat.

Michel announced that there is intelligence warning of an attack on Brussels, “perhaps at several locations.” Authorities in Brussels are braced for an attack similar to the one in Paris on Nov. 13.

The Belgian government has already taken the following measures, following last week’s terrorist attacks: increased police and military presence on public transport; increased police and military capacity; a general reduction in major events that would normally attract large numbers of people; and the installation of a number for obtaining information.

Brussels Shuts Down Metro, Goes To High Alert in Fear of Terror

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

Brussels has been placed on maximum alert due to concrete threats pointing to a strong risk of an attack “along the lines of what took place in Paris,” Prime Minister Charles Michel told a news conference on Saturday.

Numerous “high-value target” institutions in the Belgian capital are being guarded by soldiers; these include buildings belonging to the European Union and NATO, both of which are headquartered in the city.

It is not known whether Jewish institutions are among the protected, or if so, which ones are the privileged. In 2014 the city’s Jewish Museum, targeted by radical Islamist terrorists a year ago, was forced to beg the government for upgraded protection after the massacre.

Brussels was placed at the government’s maximum level four on its threat scale after a security council meeting of top ministers, police and security services held on Saturday.

The public metro was closed down and people were warned to avoid crowds due to a “serious and imminent” threat of “coordinated, multiple attacks” by terrorists.

American citizens were warned by the U.S. Embassy to “shelter in place and remain at home… If you must go out, avoid large crowds,” the embassy said in a statement Saturday on its website.

Another government situation review is slated for Sunday afternoon. But until then, the metro system is closed, and although shopping centers and smaller shops opened briefly on Saturday, by midday they too had shut their doors.

Meanwhile, suspected fugitive terrorist Salah Abdeslam, 26, has arrived home to Brussels from Paris, and fear of the Da’esh terrorist has inspired Brussels sports authorities to postpone weekend games in two professional divisions.

The Belgian Interior Minister told reporters he wants a register of everyone living in Molenbeek, a neighborhood in Brussels, since it is still not clear who is living there and who is not.

Authorities are now conducting door-to-door checks of every house in Molenbeek. Abdeslam is from that neighborhood, as was the Da’esh (ISIS) mastermind of the Paris massacre, Abdelhamid Aba’aoud, 28, who was killed in a police siege in a Paris suburb last Wednesday. The two terrorists met and bonded in prison.

Belgium and France Declare War on ISIS

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Hundreds of Belgian police raided a Brussels neighborhood Monday morning in search of Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists and arrested the “eighth” man involved in the attacks but who did not blow himself up.

He was identified as Saleh Abdeslam.

ISIS terrorist Saleh Abdeslam.

The mastermind behind the gruesome killings of at least 132 people is Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 26, who is in Syria. He also is suspected of being behind plots to attack a high-speed train and a Paris church.

France has discovered that ISIS is entrenched in the country far more than ever could be imagined. Security officials discovered a rocket launcher Monday night in Lyons, France while searching for 19-year-old terrorist Salah Abdeslam, who was born in Belgium and is a French national.

He reportedly was stopped during or after Friday night’s attacks but was released.

France said it is considering a ground offensive against ISIS as hundreds of police carried out 168 raids overnight and took 104 people into custody, including relatives of some of the suicide terrorists.

The French and Belgian reaction to what has been described here as “France’s 9/11” is fierce and is leaving President Barack Obama on the defense against Republican critics who are afraid that lack of a more vigorous offense is leaving the United States next in line.

The backlash in France and Belgian has sacred Muslims who are not part of the Islamic radical movement. Those who showed up at a rally in memory of the victims of Friday’s night barbaric murders were cursed, and even the bleeding heart Swedish government is putting a clamp on its open borders.

One French Muslim woman was quoted as saying she wishes she were a Jew so she would not be viewed suspiciously, but French Jews don’t feel any safer that they are not Muslims. Israeli once again is preparing for another wave of Aliyah from France.

Millions of Muslims have flooded all of Europe, and liberals are beginning to ask the inevitable question if it is too late to prevent the continent from becoming Islamic.

The lack of aggressive action was highlighted by the revelation that one of the ISIS suicide bombers Friday night, Ismael Omar Mostefai, who had been arrested seven times for larceny and had been targeted as radical Islamist.

Signs of planned attacks on Paris were evident three days before the attacks. Four ISIS-linked social media accounts posted messages with images of weapons, the Eiffel Tower and good wishes for the attacks, Fox News reported.

Moreover, Iraqi officials warned coalition countries of imminent ISIS attacks at least one day before the suicide bombers struck.

Israel’s Pres. Rivlin Cancels State Visit to EU

Friday, November 13th, 2015

President Reuven Rivlin has canceled his long-scheduled visit to speak at a session of the European Union parliament, set for December 2, after anti-Israel labeling guidelines were published Wednesday by the EU.

The invitation, extended as far back as March of this year, included a meeting with EU officials at the body’s headquarters in Brussels.

EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen was informed Thursday after being summoned to the foreign ministry that the trip was to be postponed. The ambassador was also told that Israel was suspending diplomatic dialogue with the EU in a number of European forums.

The President’s Residence has confirmed the trip was postponed but did not give a reason for the change.

It is believed the cancelation is part of Israel’s partial suspension of diplomatic dialogue with the European Union in the wake of its new labeling guidelines on goods produced by Jewish manufacturers in Judea and Samaria.

The new guidelines issued Wednesday ban farm goods and cosmetics produced in Judea and Samaria from bearing the label, “Made in Israel.” The European Union considers the existence of Jewish Israeli communities built in those regions following the 1967 Six Day War to be illegal under international law.

Israel vowed it would suspend bilateral dialogue with the European Union over the matter, primarily in the areas of human rights and issues affecting its relationship with the Palestinian Authority. Bilateral dialogue in areas such as education, agriculture, science and culture are expected to continue, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emanuel Nachshon.

Brussels Govt: ‘We’ve Averted A Belgian Charlie Hebdo’ 

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Government agents killed at least two suspects in what they say was a developing “Belgian Charlie Hebdo” situation late Thursday.

The suspects opened fire as police began their raid on an apartment above a bakery in the eastern city of Verviers, 70 miles from Brussels. No security personnel were injured.

The public prosecutor’s office has confirmed the deaths of the two suspects, and added there have been arrests of “several” more.

“We’ve averted a Belgian Charlie Hebdo,” an unidentified police officer told La Meuse, according to Fox News.

Magistrate Eric Van der Sypt told journalists at a briefing in Brussels that the terrorists were linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and were close to launching a major attack.

Counter terror raids are underway in the Brussels region at this time, as well as in Verviers, he said, and the terror alert level in the country has been raised to its second highest level.

The raids were part of the security establishment’s investigation into local jihadists who are returning to the country “battle-hardened” from Syria.

Another suspect is currently being detained in a separate part of the country on suspicion of selling arms that were used in last week’s terrorist siege in Paris.

Belgian media reported that suspect had turned himself in Tuesday in the southern city of Charleroi, saying he had been in contact with Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen involved in last week’s Paris terror attacks.

It is not yet known whether the two are connected, nor whether those who were killed Thursday were directly tied to the Paris terror cells.

Belgian Minister Vows to Uphold Jewish Ritual Slaughter

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts has reversed his position on the issue of Jewish ritual slaughter in Belgium.

The minister advised the European Jewish Association (EJA) this week he intends to “enforce in all aspects” Belgian law facilitating the practice of ritual slaughter. The Brussels-based EJA represents Jewish communities across Europe.

Weyts offered his full apologies in a letter to EJA General Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin Wednesday for the “misunderstanding” which prompted the public backlash to his previous call for a total ban on the practice in Belgium in televised comments.

The minister’s clarifications came following Margolin’s appeal against apparent plans to implement a total ban on the practice of Jewish ritual slaughter, insisting such a move “is against freedom of religion”.

Speaking on Belgian television show ‘De Zevende Dag’ (VRT) in late September, Weyts had declared that he would actively pursue a total ban on the practice of animal slaughter without pre-stunning.

If successful, Weyt’s attack on shechita, as the practice is called in Hebrew, would have been implemented by 2015.  Margolin emphasised that the Jewish practice of shechita is “the most humane method of slaughter” as it ensures the welfare of the animal not only at the time of slaughter, but also concerns itself with “the conditions in which animals are raised before their slaughter.”

“After reading your letter, I regret that apparently my declarations regarding the slaughter of animals without prior stunning as prescribed by certain religious rites have been misunderstood,” the minister wrote.

“As you have indicated, European regulation no. 1099/2009, stipulates that prior stunning of animals is not required in case of slaughter prescribed by religious rites. From now on this regulation will be enforced in all its aspects.”

Margolin thanked Weyts for his clarification, adding, ” I am very happy that we were able to come to an understanding about the importance of kosher slaughtering for Jews, not only in Belgium, but all over Europe.”

The European Jewish Association has previously successfully campaigned against legislation to restrict the practice of ritual slaughter in Poland, in addition to appealing against similar legislation in Denmark, as well as legislation against male circumcision in Germany.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/belgian-minister-vows-to-uphold-jewish-ritual-slaughter/2014/12/24/

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