World was still reeling in the aftermath of the Paris terror attack when Europe saw incidents where potential terror threats were contained and terrorists were captured or killed.
On Thursday, Belgium thwarted a terrorist attack that it said could have been another ‘January 7 Paris attack’. Two terrorists were killed in the operation.
Interpol is after an ISIS terror cell that may target Spain and Germany. Reports say terror cells are active in France.
France saw another hostage situation today in a Paris suburb that ended with the gunman surrendering. Though there are no certain reports on the gunman’s link to the last week’s Paris attack or to some other terror cell, he was heavily armed, with Kalashnikov and grenades, and that scales up the disturbing feeling.
Terror warning and alerts have continued with increased frequency midst the calls and acts of defiance and solidarity.
January 11 saw some four million people and 40 heads of states descending on Paris in solidarity with the victims of the January 7 attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and in defiance of the designs of the terror warlords.
On January 13, France voted to extend its airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq.
On January 14, the next Wednesday of the January 7 attack when the terrorists had barged in and had opened fire on Charlie Hebdo staffers when they were holding their weekly meeting killing its four cartoonists, the magazine came out with cartoon of the Prophet, in protest and in defiance. The terror attack on Charlie Hebdo had its origin in the Prophet cartoons published by it in previous years. In five languages and in 20 countries, it was sold out immediately with five million print run. The regular circulation figure for the magazine has been in 50,000-60,000 range. Even during its previous issues with the Prophet cartoons, it was just a fraction (some 150,000 copies)¬ of what happened with this Wednesday issue.
And terrorists have been on the job as well, keeping everyone on the toe. Europe remains on high alert. Al Qaeda in Yemen took responsibility of the Charlie Hebdo strike though doubts remain. ISIS praised the attackers. Many other Islamic terror outfits came out saying so. ISIS has asked its ‘lone wolfs’ to target Europe and ‘kill all the infidels’.
And with it, the elements working to incite the anti-Islam sentiments in Europe found an accessible playing field. Thousands gathered in anti-Islam rally in Germany. Prague had another such rally. France has seen anti-Islam protests with grenade attacks on mosques in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo terror attack.
And the atmosphere is expected to get vitiated more with developments like anti Charlie-Hobdo protests today in Karachi (Pakistan) that took a violent turn with protesters clashing with the police. Protesters were trying to target the French consulate in Karachi. The injured include an AFP photographer who was shot in the back. Pakistan and some other Muslim countries have seen events to honour the Charlie Hebdo attackers.
The way events have evolved since January 7, the picture looks dark with increasing tension. And unfortunately, as the terror warlords would want, it is taking a religious hue, pitting Christians and Muslims against each other.
Still a handful of them, the situation may get alarming if not checked soon.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–/