Four men initially thought to be part of a thwarted terror plot in Belgium have turned out not to be the suspects Brussels is looking for. Meanwhile one of the gunmen from the Charlie Hebdo massacre was buried in France.
Greek police initially said one of the four men they detained in Athens matched the descrption of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of a plot to kill police officers in Belgium. However, after careful verification of ID information, officials in Brussels concluded that "those people have nothing to do with the Belgian case," according to Van der Sypt.
With Europe on edge over domestic terror attacks, officials briefly hoped that Greece had made a breakthrough in discovering the last key suspect in the Belgian plot.
Back in Belgium, soldiers fanned out to protect possible terrorist targets, including the Jewish quarter in Antwerp and several embassies. For the first time in decades, paratroopers were deployed to protect the nation's cities, adding to the sense of unease on the streets.
France against a 'war of religion'
France tried to ward off further unrest by burying Said Kouachi, who along with his brother Cherif killed 12 people in the offices of satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, quietly and anonymously in Reims.
After at first refusing to allow Kouachi to be buried in his city, Mayor Arnaud Robinet told the press he was forced to backpedal. Robinet said the government reminded him of a French law which stipulates that a resident of a town has a right to be buried there.
Cherif Kouachi will be buried in the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers, where he lived until dying alongside his brother in a shoot-out with police at a warehouse northeast of Paris. There is no word of burial plans for the third gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, who killed five people at a kosher supermarket in the French capital.
French authorities also banned a planned anti-Islamist demonstration, fearing it might sow the seeds of civil discord.
"We are one country, one people, one France - without distinction by religion, belief, or sensibility," President Francois Hollande said Saturday, urging calm, "an ardent France against those who want to install among us who-knows-what war of religion."
es/bw (AP, dpa)