BRUSSELS, Jan. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Belgian police authorities foiled a suspected terrorists group's plan to launch New Year's Eve attacks.
On Tuesday, December 29, federal police in Brussels, seized Islamic propaganda documents and military-style uniforms, and arrested two suspects on terrorism charges, according to an announcement by the Belgian federal prosecutors' office. Officials released few details of the arrests, but did say there was a credible threat.
Joris Kerckhof, a member of the Belgian Federal Police Support Dog Unit K-9 division, who will be joining Tripwire Operations Group team, based in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to develop, share new training procedures for bomb detection dogs, in February, said recently that some of the suspected terrorists behind attacks in France were Belgian nationals. The Belgian Federal Police established that several of the suspected terrorists responsible for the Charlie Hedbo attack were believed traced to the town of Verviers, which is located near the Belgium-Germany border.
The chief suspects in the November terrorist attacks in Paris were traced to Molenbeek, a district located within Brussels, the capital of Belgium.
"Actually, the number one terrorist suspect, Salah Abdeslam, is on the run, lived in Molenbeek," Kerckhof said. "Salah, and his brother, Ibrahim, worked together in the community. They all have Belgian citizenships."
Authorities in Brussels said there are no known links between the two suspects arrested on Tuesday with the Nov. 13 Paris attacks. However, on Nov. 27, officials with the Belgian Crisis Center, reported that the terrorist threat level was changed to level three of the entire country and the Brussels-Capital Region.
Belgium, particularly the Brussels' area, is home to many Middle East immigrants, Kerckhof said. Within those neighborhoods, poverty and a lack of careers is partly responsible for "radicalizing young Shittes." Within the European Union, travel between member states, such as Belgium and France, does not require border checks, making it easy for terrorists to travel from one country to another to stage attacks.
Belgium is a small country—a three-hour trip by car from one tip of the country to the other. Cities have large concentrations of citizens, which include native-born and naturalized citizens. Syrian refugees comprise the latest wave of immigrants in the country, Kerckhof said.
Kerckhof and Tripwire K-9 trainers and explosive experts are creating new methods to train bomb detection dogs. It takes a year or more to properly train dogs to recognize the scents of a range of explosives.
The U.S., and member states of the European Union, "are all facing the same (terrorism) threats," Kerckhof said in a mid-December interview, while visiting Tripwire headquarters. To optimize training of bomb-sniffing dogs requires new techniques that address issues such as a dog's sensory threshold, Kerckhof said.
Ryan Morris, Tripwire founder and CEO, said that in response to the December 2, San Bernardino attack, Tripwire began offering low cost, expedited IED and explosive training to military units, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and paramedics anywhere in the U.S., Morris said.
"We know that pipe bombs and other explosive devices were used by the suspects in both San Bernardino and Paris," Morris said. Police discovered multiple pipe bombs and other explosive devices left by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, at various places associated with the attacks.
Bomb detection training for dogs is continually evolving, Morris said. Both the dog and its handler need to be trained as extensively and quickly as possible to get the team ready for incident response and threat assessment.
"Those who are going to do harm are using real explosives," Morris said. "That's why we're bringing Joris onboard and are collaborating with David Adebimpe of ScentLogix."
Adebimpe, founder and president of ScentLogix, based in Annapolis, Maryland, has developed inert explosive scent formulations that have the same scent profile as the real thing. Each explosive has its own distinct scent profile, Adebimpe said.
"Over the last six years...the U.S., governments has spent more than $8 million trying to develop technology based around the olfactory superiority of a K-9s nose – in the development of non-hazardous explosives training aids to train these dogs—all to no avail," Adebimpe said. "We know what the nose is, we know how the nose works, and we are using the knowledge, and proof of it, to produce scent training aids for first responders in the war against explosives terrorism and drug trafficking - occupations where failure is not an option – quietly, assuredly, and we have not had a single complaints from a client, not one."
While explosives training is offered twice a week at the Gettysburg operations center, Morris said the company is also offering training courses around the country, for a nominal fee. Training is planned for first responders in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana and Tennessee.
"The most challenging obstacle we face in training bomb detection dogs are the time constraints placed on us," Morris said. "We intend to train the dogs as quickly as possible using training techniques used by Joris and the olfactory technology developed by David to get the K-9 bomb-detection team on the streets, where we need them."
For more information on Tripwire Operations Group, visit www.tripwireops.org.
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SOURCE Tripwire Operations Group