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Friday 16 January 2015

Belgium - More Scary Muslims

Yesterday’s events in the Belgian town of Verviers appear to have caught most of the press off guard, the story not getting onto the front pages of most early editions - the Mirror was a notable exception - but as the news that there has been an exchange of gunfire, in which two suspects were killed and a third wounded emerged, it duly set off the 24-hour rolling news Speculatron, with the punditerati poised to follow.
Sadly, efforts to connect this incident with what happened last week in Paris have been hampered by the authorities in Belgium revealing that their operations go back through several weeks of preparation and surveillance. Those killed and wounded had, apparently, recently returned from Syria, while those attacking the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris claimed to be part of al-Queda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

But, having been rebuffed on that one point, the assembled hackery was not going to let it stop it speculating as to what the potential terrorists were planning to do. While the BBC told that “Prosecutors said the suspects in Verviers were believed to have been plotting to attack a police station and cause a large number of casualties”, elsewhere there was a more creative spirit at work.

The Mail scented blood: “A Belgian terror cell poised to carry out 'a second Paris' attack planned to abduct and behead a senior policeman or judge, it was claimed today. The radical Islamic group smashed in police raids yesterday planned to film the horrific murder and circulate the footage online, bringing the brutality of ISIS to the West, police sources said”. OK then, it was someone else’s blood.

And there was more: “The trigger for the raid was the return of a terror kingpin yesterday from abroad to Verviers … According to the investigators, it was then only a matter of hours or days until the suspects put their sick plan into action … It was not yet clear whether the radical Islamist leader was among the dead or was the man who was overpowered”. Do we have any advance on a beheading?

You betcha, says Sarah: over at the Telegraph, Bruno Waterfield took a break from his creative take on the workings of the EU to tell “Heavily armed Belgian terrorists were planning to seize a passenger bus and take hostages, according to press reports”. What, no beheading? Oh, OK then: “the terrorist cell was planning to kidnap a senior police officer or magistrate before beheading them for a video”.

The Mirror concurred: “[The terrorists] who had recently returned from Syria and were armed with four Kalashnikov assault rifles, handguns and explosives, are thought to have been planning to seize a passenger bus and take hostages [and] were also planning to kidnap a top cop or magistrate and behead them on video”. But, apart from the predictable rambling self-justification of Con Coughlin at the Tel, very little comment so far.

That will change as the ranters get into gear. You have been warned.

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