What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

2 dead in Belgian raid on extremists said to plot European attacks

Read the Full Transcript

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Guns blazed in Belgium this evening as terror suspects shot it out with police, putting Europe back on edge. Security officials say they raided a cell of extremists who planned attacks — quote — "on a grand scale."

    Two suspects were killed and one wounded in the Eastern town of Verviers, about 80 miles from Belgium. Police said the gunmen used military weapons and opened fire as special units closed in. They allegedly had ties to Syria, but no apparent connection to last week's attacks in Paris. We will focus on the terror threat facing Europe after the news summary.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The trouble in Belgium came on a day when the president of France appealed for religious tolerance. And some of the victims of the attacks were laid to rest today.

    The casket was carried out to applause, and covered in cartoons and messages drawn by Charlie Hebdo staffers. Hundreds gathered at the funeral of Bernard Verlhac, known as Tignous, one of 12 people gunned down at the satirical weekly last week.

  • RENALD LUZIER, Cartoonist, Charlie Hebdo (through interpreter):

    We will continue to draw cartoons of the victims, and we drew on Tignous' coffin. We will try to continue to laugh with them where they are now.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Earlier, at a memorial service, the wife of Tignous urged on the cause of free expression.

  • CHLOE VERLHAC (through interpreter):

    There is a phrase which I find a bit silly, but I have said it a lot. He shouldn't die for nothing. I think it's fundamental. The cartoonists are today messengers of hope.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Funerals were also held for two other Charlie Hebdo staffers and for a policeman who helped protect them.

    The killings were condemned today by Pope Francis, traveling in Asia. But he also called for limits on free expression when it comes to religion.

    POPE FRANCIS, Leader of Catholic Church (through interpreter): Many people who speak badly about other religions or religion, who make fun of them, make other people's religions a joke, well, that is a provocation. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult other people's faiths. You cannot make fun of faith.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And, in Pakistan, from protests in the street to a vote in Parliament, there was widespread condemnation of Charlie Hebdo for publishing another cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

    Back in France, President Francois Hollande sought to calm religious tensions, vowing to punish any acts against Muslims or Jews.

  • PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, France (through interpreter):

    We should also remember, and I did it each time I made a trip to the Arab world, that Islam is compatible with democracy. We should reject all prejudices, starting in France. French people of the Muslim faith have the same rights and have the same duties as all citizens.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Meanwhile, the French military reported Islamic hacker groups and others have attacked 19,000 French Web sites since last week's attacks.

    Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Paris this evening. He said he will convey American sympathies for the Paris victims at a town hall tomorrow.

Listen to this Segment