and an end to corruption. and two prominent turkish journalists are on trial charged with revealing state secrets. ♪ okay. let's get you right up to date with what is happening in belgium today. belgian police have arrested several suspects in raids across the capitol. a police operation is underway as we speak. six suspects were arrested overnight, one more was detained this morning. let's stay with this continuing story and talk to dominic kane who is there. get us up to date. what is the very latest information you have? >> reporter: peter we understand an operation is underway here behind me.
we are behind a cordon of police officers, one you can see is walking in and out of shots here, basically advising people as to what is going on. we understand a man has been neutralized in the course of the operation that is underway here. there are suggestions that have been reported that a man says his son saw that man who was neutralized being shot in the legs, and that the man may have had some sort of automatic weapon with him. i can't confirm those reports, but those are the reports that have emerged in the news media. in the course of the neutralization they may have shot the man in the legs. and we understand perhaps that the bomb squad has gone in to see if there is any device with this man. so this operation is still ongoing.
this area is pretty central in brussels, peter. to paint a picture for you, it is a mixture of residential and business buildings, properties here. this is good friday, the christian holiday good friday, when many people are on holiday here. and many people obviously are very concerned about what has happened in their city this week. so the suggestion that another operation is underway, we'll be greeted by many perhaps with shock and sadness. certainly in this area, the wider area where i was filming earlier on today. many people were saying they were angry their neighborhood may have been used by these sorts of people who carried out the attacks on tuesday. but as far as this operation is concerned we understand a man has been neutralized. i myself have heard several explosions, but they are not the sorts of explosions that might have been caused by large devises, they are more
consistent with sounds that would be created by the flash back stun grenades the police use. >> that might be perhaps used to blow a door down or to stun somebody, or it may be, just may be some sort of controlled explosionive device? >> reporter: that's right peter, as things stand it is difficult for us to establish precisely what was the reason for the use of these -- these flash back stun grenades, but traditionally security forces around the world would use such devises to allow them to get in and neutralize them. and given the suggestion we see reported by some media outlets that perhaps gunfire was used by
the police to neutralize this man. the man may have been shot in the legs, to disable him, to allow the forces of order to come in and to neutralize him and to -- to render the area safe. these are all consistent with those suggestions, but as i say, i must stress as things stand this operation is unfolding behind us, and so far, at least we don't have direct confirmation from the authorities about what precisely is going on here. but as i say, we understand that a person has been neutralized in this situation. this is very close to many of the other landmarks. the people who know this city well might well recognize this area. >> as and to those unconfirmable reports that somebody may have been shot in the legs, that is the classic tactic, if you want to keep somebody alive to ask
them the important questions that's how you take them out of the equation, you make them less dangerous than you think they might be, but they are alive. they survive that process. you then get them to hospital and then you can begin interrogating them. >> reporter: peter the one thing to say is very clearly the authorities want to find out as much as possible about the plot that ensued into what happened on tuesday. so far at least how else can they gather information than to try to keep these -- whoever they consider to be suspects alive and to apprehend them. so it would be consistent with that sort of idea for them to do what they have done, if indeed it is correct that this is what they have done in neutralizing the person to keep the person live so they can be brought into
custody and for questioning. there are many questions being asked in society about what the government did and did not know, and what the government did and did not do prior to the attacks on tuesday. the suggestion we heard from the president of turkey that one of the brothers, one of the brothers who were responsibility who carried out the bombings, that one of the brothers was deported, and therefore the authorities new about it. and let's remind ourselves of course as well, that the brothers were known to the police. they had criminal records for using weapons and violence. so there are many questions being posed in the media and wider society about what was done, and that perhaps explains why the authorities are so keen to get as many answers to the questions they have as possible. and clearly if they are neutralizing somebody, it means they hope there will come a time
where they can question them. >> dominic thank you very much. two americans were among the 31 killed in the brussels bombings. john kerry is there in brussels today where he is promising to give all possible assistance. >> we will not be intimidated. we will not be deterred. and we will come back with greater resolve, with greater strength, and we will not rest until we have eliminated your kneel listic beliefs and cowardous from the face of this earth. i cross the boarder in france a man was arrested suspected of planning another mayor attack. he was arrested in one of the northern suburbs of paris. >> reporter: france is wondering how close it came to suffering another major attack. security forces moved in on
thursday night to secure an apartment here. they found both explosives and weapons. >> translator: this operation follows an important arrest this morning made by the general director for internal security, which has enabled us to stop a terrorist attack at an advanced stage. >> reporter: this was the man that was arrested. as was the suspected organizer of the paris attacks last november, inevitably many people in europe are wondering how such suspects can escape capture and carrying on planning attacks. the president called for better information sharing between e.u. states. >> if we have this shared intelligence strategy, knowing where they might be, knowing how
they can use their, quote, skills learned in syria, learned in yemen, better we have the capability of preventing these attacks. >> reporter: in belgium this week's events lead to the justice and interior ministers offering to resign. although the prime minister turned down the gesture. here in france politicians from the ruling party accept there have been security failures. >> translator: we did not do enough. and we did not act quickly enough. there were a number of measures that have been planned for sometime and that need the european parliament's approval. especially the npr system to record air passenger details. >> reporter: hours before thursday's raid there was an outpouring of anger in paris. this demonstration requiring a heavy police presence. the issue might be changes to the country's labor laws, but
many people in france are very worried about security, and more and more are asking what politicians can do to make them safer. and that's a question echoing around europe right now. nadim baba, al jazeera, paris. isil fighters are losing ground in two countries iraq and syria. the iraqi army says it has pushed to the north to confront isil in mosul. iraqi troops have been gathering south of there, trying to cut isil's supply lines. the city of me sell fell to isil forces in june of 2014. well isil also losing ground in palmyra. state tv says the army is now inside the ancient city and is shelling parts of isil-held drens -- residential areas. its recapturing would be a
significant victory for the forces of president bashar al-assad. mohammed jamjoom with the latest. >> reporter: these pictures are said to show a significant advance. syrian government forces fighting to recapture the historic city of palmyra from isil. state media also showed planes and helicopters flying over head, as soldiers approached on the ground. the syrian observatory for human rights says many civilians fled palmyra after isil said the fighting was drawing near. this video it says shows its fighters driving around parts of the city as syrian government troops advance. some analysts believe the syrian government advance will be a morale booster. >> given all of the bad news coming out of europe, this focuses attention on isis has a military organization and as a state, and it is a failed state
at this time. even in terms of the diplomatic channels of geneva. it is not the end yet, but it seems to me to be the beginning of the end. >> reporter: isil captured the historic city in may, and began destroying ancient sites. it is strategically located between the government-held capitol of damascus, and the isil strong hold of deir ez-zor. a ceasefire between government forces and opposition rebel factions has significantly reduced violence, but the agreement excludes al-nusra front and isil, considered terrorists groups by the syrian government. russia recently withdrew most of its forces from syria after launching air strikes for six months. but this is evidence that the government of syrian president bashar al-assad is still making advances. mohammed jamjoom, al jazeera.
staying with that story, a military and security analyst in beirut says russian air power has helped the syrian government retake the ground from isil. >> the location of palmyra is important because it is 90 kilometers from hamas, and a little bit more to damascus. and it leads to deir ez-zor. it gives the lives of the regime strategic depth that is really protecting the main highway and five cities. but i think that we are going into some tactical operational gains for master plan. this master plan will lead later about two major cities in iraq, mosul, and in syria ra rauk -- raqqa. the regime was fighting on the back foot.
and what president assad said once in his speech was i don't have the resources, human resources as well, so we need something to be done. and here comes the russian entities. however, it changed the dynamics in the syrian theater, and there was some gain for the regime, especially around northern aleppo and as well as around, you know, the northern city of -- eastern side of latia. so that's why the momentum now it seems like it is with the regime. so that is why it is maybe making gains in palmyra. supporters of iraq's powerful shia cleric are calling for an end to corruption in iraq. tens of thousands of people showed up. they want the prime to replace some of his government ministers. our correspondent is following
the latest from baghdad. >> reporter: this is the main gate which holds the offices of iraqi authority. and u.s. embassy is also here. tep -- tens of thousands of protesters have gathered here calling for reforms. flags and banners are raised saying there will be no retreat unless the prime minister taking real measures to change the administration and fight corruption. the protesters want those who they say are corrupted officials appointed by previous governments to be dismissed. the protest comes at the time when iraqi prime minister is about to announce a new cabinet. he has said in this long-promised reshuffle he will bring in specialists that are not aligned with any political party. >> lots more news still to come for you here on al jazeera. we'll explain the significance
jazeera live from doha. loud explosions have been heard during the police search of a house in brussels. these are live pictures from that area. there have been a series of arrests across the city. syrian government forces are closing in on the ancient city of palmyra, controlled by isil fighters. state tv pictures are said to show soldiers taking control of a building. and thousands of iraqis have been rallying in baghdad. they want the prime minister to replace ministers and civil servants. two turkish journalists have gone on trial charged with revealing state secrets. they published a news story, alleging the turkish government was arming rebel groups in syria. >> translator: we have so confident about the decision of the court, because the court has
already said that this -- this news is not an act of terrorism, but an act of journalism. so this judge, we hope, that -- will approve this decision and drop the case. egyptian police are blaming a criminal gang for the torture and murder of an italian student. he was killed in january by egyptian security forces. our correspondent reports. >> reporter: egypt's interior ministry says gang members posed as police officers, and this is what they say they found at the scene. identity cards, passport, phones and a bag bearing the italian flag. all belonging to a murdered italian student. the 28 year old went missing on the 25th of january, the fifth anniversary of the uprising in egypt. the student's body was found in
a ditch on the out skirts of cairo ten days later. he had been tortured his body beaten, burned and electrocuted. hissing friends and family have been holding rallies ever since to keep up the pressure on the investigation into the death. he has published articles critical of the government, and was researching egyptian trade union movement. human rights groups say torture marks on his body were consistent with other cases of torture and forced disappearances, allegedly by security services. the government has consistently denied the allegations. >> translator: it's very annoying and frustrating to hear of accusations and rumors about the involvement of security agencies. the agencies are known for integrity and transparency. >> they have a long history of unaccountability, and i believe
this has to do with the way the police -- police force and police -- policemen are being trained right when they are cadets. they are trained to disrespect human righting. >> reporter: an exchange on egyptian state tv two weeks ago does little to dampen suspicions of a government cover up. this man is speaking here on egyptian tv. he says we haven't found a scapegoat yet. the host responds, this is funny and sad at the same time. egypt's interior ministry says all four members of the alleged criminal gang were shot dead on thursday, the same men now being blamed for the murder. the iranian president has now arrived in islamabad.
his talks are expected to focus on new energy deals with pakistan a also expected to urge his neighbor to resume work on a gas pipeline. >> reporter: they have been facing an energy crisis, therefore, pakistan needs to get energy from neighboring countries. now the iranian pipeline which has been completed on the iranian end has still to be completed on the pakistani side. this is also because of the fact there are international pressures on pakistan not to build the iranian pipeline. at the same time, the europeans and americans have been trying to convince tehran to move its gas to turkey, in a bid to end the russian monopoly of gas supplies to europe.
the pakistanis will also have to look into the fact of whether the pipeline is feasible, whether there is enough money to be able to complete the pakistani end of the pipeline. and pakistan has made a deal with qatar for the supply of energy for the next few years to the tune of $15 billion. the chinese are helping with a terminal to bring that energy to a central supply-grade system in pakistan. so it will be interesting to see whether the pakistanis and the iranians are able to make any progress on the ip pipeline. now to afghanistan and hopes offening 15 years of war and conflict. the government says they are optimistic of reaching an agreement with the taliban. from jalalabad, here is tony betterly. >> reporter: mohamed is 13 years
old, and loves cricket. his body was peppered with shrapnel in a suicide bomb attack. >> translator: when the first explosion happened i thought i'm dead. i couldn't see anything. i thought, i'm dead. two to three minutes later my brain started functioning again. when i opened my eyes, it was like a dark night, but still i couldn't see anything. >> reporter: he was working in a family barbershop when the attack happened. he lost a large part of his stomach and the family's business was destroyed, leaving them destitute. they talk about collateral damage as if it is perfectly acceptable. in afghanistan it's the civilians who are suffering the bloody consequences of everyone else's war. in the jalalabad attack eight were killed including the attacker. india has given billions of dollars in aid to afghanistan. >> attacks against us are
designed to stop us from doing it, to scare us away, to drive a rift between the indian and afghanistan relationship, to force us to abandon afghanistan, and we are not going to do that. in 2008, 58 people were killed in an attack. some believe pakistan is behind the campaign, and the two countries are now fighting a different kind of war on foreign soil. >> they were always looking for a third place where they could easily take their war and then say, well, we, instead of killing our own people, you know, fighting in their own countries, let's find another place where we could easily figure out how we can basically diminish each other's influence in the region. the state visit of modi to kabul
earlier this year, underlined india's strong relationship with afghanistan. some say pakistan sees growing indian influence with kabul as a threat on its western front. most believe the attacks against indian missions have been carried out by a powerful faction within the taliban. >> pakistan again using taliban, but they are also trying to come up with an alternative just in case, if something happens and taliban [ inaudible ] they have a number of other groups that could potentially replace taliban in the future. >> reporter: other regional powers are also fighting their own kind of proxy wars here. but the indian pakistan is the most volatile and most likely to affect the peace process. they never know when they leave home if they are going to be victims of afghanistan's proxy
wars. tony berkeley, al jazeera, jalalabad. now if you are just joining us here on al jazeera, i just want to dip in for a couple of seconds to that live shot coming to us out of brussels. because we understand that one individual there has been, according to the local authorities, neutralized, following two, perhaps three muffled ex-d -- explosions. it did not sound like a bomb going off. one individual, presumably that individual who was neutralized was shot in the legs, following that police operation there. the area was pretty much locked down, sealed off, as we were seeing from that live picture. we were seeing from those pictures just in the past hour or so, entire areas cordoned
off. our team on the ground monitoring what was going on there. you can see somebody there in bomb disposal equipment, obviously putting together of intelligence. what you are looking at is really a micro chasm of what happened across europe. seven detained in brussels, two in germany, and one in a northern suburb of paris. all of this dove tailing with the events on tuesday as that investigation continues into what happened at the airport and metro station. 31 people lost their lives in brussels, and those attacks have been linked to what happened on friday, november 13th at 8:45 local time in this evening at the theater in france and also in various cafes in the french capitol. more on that if you want it on the website, aljazeera.com. chinese police are reported to have detained at least 20 people in connection with the publication of a letter criticizth