What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

News Wrap: Dozens arrested in European anti-terror raids

In our news wrap Friday, police in France, Germany and Belgium arrested more than two dozen people with suspected links to Islamic militant groups. The head of Europol warned that Europe now has up to 5,000 Muslim radicals. Also, President Obama warned lawmakers that imposing new sanctions against Iran could end all hope for reaching a deal with that country on its nuclear program.

Read the Full Transcript

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    We begin with one of the two major stories that dominated this day, Europe on edge.

    Law enforcement agencies across the continent targeted terror suspects in raids and arrests across at least four countries. The crackdown was spawned in part by the Paris violence of a week ago.

    From Belgium to Germany and again in France, heavily armed police were out in force. In Verviers, Belgium, authorities said late-night raids that killed two suspects had disrupted a plot to attack police. They said they found a well-organized, well-equipped cell.

    ERIC VAN DER SYPT, Spokesman, Belgian federal prosecutors' spokesman (through interpreter): At the house search in Verviers, several weapons were found, including four military weapons of the AK-47 Kalashnikov type, several handguns, ammunition and explosives. Several police uniforms were also retrieved, and mobile phones, fake documents and a significant amount of money.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    German authorities raided 11 homes in Berlin and netted two Turkish suspects. They're suspected of recruiting fighters for the Islamic State group in Syria.

    The dragnet also reached to Bulgaria, where a French national appeared in court over alleged ties to one of the gunmen in last week's attacks in Paris.

    Watching the day's events, the head of the European police agency, Europol, warned the continent now has up to 5,000 Muslim radicals.

  • ROB WAINWRIGHT, Director, Europol:

    The scale of the problem, the way — the diffuse nature of the network, the scale of the people involved makes this extremely difficult for even very well-functioning counterterrorist agencies, such as we have in France, to stop every attack. I think that's — that is really very, very difficult.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The heightened tensions across Europe had Jewish schools in Belgium and the Netherlands closing their doors as a precaution.

    And back in Paris, more funerals today — hundreds gathered to say farewell to the editor of Charlie Hebdo, one of 12 people slain in last week's killings.

    Secretary of State John Kerry paid his own tribute at a makeshift memorial outside the magazine's offices.

    Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande insisted again that his government will not back down in the face of Islamist terror.

  • PRESIDENT FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE, France (through interpreter):

    We are at war against it. It is not a war against a religion. It is a war against hatred. The attacks committed in Paris are an insult to Islam. And in the world, it is the Muslims, I keep repeating this, who are the first victims of terrorism.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Hollande drew support from Washington, where President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron formed a united front.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    I know David joins me when I say that we will do everything in power to help France seek the justice that is needed, and that all our countries are working together seamlessly to prevent attacks and defeat these terrorist networks.

  • DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister, United Kingdom:

    We know what we're up against and we know how we will win. We face a poisonous and fanatical ideology that wants to pervert one of the world's major religions, Islam, and create conflict, terror and death. With our allies, we will confront it wherever it appears.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Across the Muslim world, however, there were more marches and angry protests against Charlie Hebdo's decision to print another cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

    In the day's other major story, the United States Supreme Court agreed to decide whether gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry. It sets the stage for a potentially history-making decision later this year. We will explore what's at stake after the news summary.

    President Obama issued a stern new warning to Congress today not to impose new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. He said the odds of reaching a deal with Iran to curb the program are already — quote — "less than 50-50," and he warned lawmakers that their actions could end all hope.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    The likelihood of the entire negotiations collapsing is very high. Congress should be aware that, if this diplomatic solution fails, then the risks and likelihood that this ends up being at some point a military confrontation is heightened, and Congress will have to own that as well.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The U.S. and five other world powers are trying to get a framework deal with Iran by March. They missed two previous deadlines. In a bid to push the process along, Secretary of State Kerry met with Iran's foreign minister in Paris today for the third time this week.

    Britain and the U.S. are beefing up cooperation on preventing cyber-attacks. The two nations announced plans today for joint cyber-security war games. They're also forming a so-called cyber-cell to share intelligence on hacking.

    The U.S. military will deploy more than 400 troops to train Syrian rebels, so they can fight Islamic State militants. Hundreds of support personnel will also be sent to locations outside Syria.

    The Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, said today that it will take some time to get the troops battle-ready.

  • REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, Pentagon Press Secretary:

    If the training is able to start in March, you could be looking at some opposition groups getting back into Syria and into the fight before the end of the year. I think that's certainly a possibility, but we have got a lot of work to do before we're there.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The goal is to train 5,400 rebels in the first year. President Obama already authorized more than 3,000 troops to train Iraqi soldiers in the fight against Islamic State forces.

    The International Criminal Court will make an initial examination of possible war crimes in Palestinian territories. That could include actions by Israel and the militant group Hamas during last summer's war in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority accepted the court's jurisdiction last month. Israel condemned that move and today's announcement.

    Fighting escalated in Eastern Ukraine today, dimming any prospects for new peace talks. Government forces and Russian-backed rebels stepped up their battle for the airport at Donetsk, a city held by the rebels. So far, two cease-fires have failed to stop the violence.

    European space scientists had some good news today. An unmanned British spacecraft that disappeared over Mars long ago has been found. Beagle 2 was spotted on the Martian surface by a NASA craft orbiting high overhead.

    We have a report from Alok Jha of Independent Television News.

  • ALOK JHA:

    Lost on another planet for 11 years, this audacious piece of British engineering has now been found in the barren wilderness of Mars.

  • MAN:

    Beagle 2 is no longer lost. And, further, it seems we are not looking at a crash site.

  • ALOK JHA:

    Beagle 2's mission was to look for signs of life on Mars. It separated from the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission on Christmas Day in 2003. But then it disappeared.

    What we know now is that Beagle 2 seems to have reached the surface of Mars in one piece and two of its solar panels even deployed when it got there, but then it never got back in touch with home. Frustratingly, it seems to have been recording data on its descent and even recorded something on the surface of Mars, too, but we will probably never know what it found out.

    Christmas Day in 2003 was devastating, not least for Beagle 2 project leader Colin Pillinger.

    COLIN PILLINGER, Beagle 2 Project Leader: Unfortunately, we don't have any Beagle data in the telemetry that has passed.

  • ALOK JHA:

    He died last year without knowing what had happened to his lander.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Beagle 2 was named for the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage of discovery in the 1830s.

    Back in this country, Medicare and Medicaid chief Marilyn Tavenner unexpectedly stepped down today. She presided over the troubled rollout of healthcare.gov under the president's health care law. And, later, she overstated the number of people enrolled for coverage by 400,000. Tavenner told staffers today she is leaving with sadness and mixed emotions.

    Penn State University and the NCAA have reached an agreement that restores more than 100 football wins to the school. They'd been officially erased by a 2012 consent decree in the child molesting scandal involving a former coach. Alumni and fans challenged that decree in court, and news of a settlement came today. It means the late Joe Paterno will regain his status as the winningest coach in major college football history.

    And Wall Street went into the weekend on a high note. Stocks rallied after oil prices surged back above $48 a barrel. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 191 points to close at 17511. The Nasdaq rose 63 points to 4634. And the S&P 500 added 26 to finish at 2019. But for the week, all three indexes lost between 1 percent and 1.5 percent.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest