BLASTS IN PAKISTAN: Security forces are now conducting raids as the death toll rises after a suicide in Pakistan that Islamic militants claimed was intentionally targeted at killing Christians on Easter Sunday. The blast, which happened in a park in Lahore, killed at least 72 and injured over 200, at last count. A group that splintered off of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility – and threatened more attacks in Punjab province soon.
CONFUSION IN THE CROSSFIRE: U.S. intelligence services and the U.S. military have both armed militias in Syria – and now, some of those groups are starting to fight each other, the L.A. Times reports. The crossfire between U.S.-armed groups has been concentrated in the area around Aleppo, where very intense fighting has led to clashes between militias who might both be against the government, but aren’t necessarily aligned with each other for any other reason. Intelligence officials believe the phenomenon is very new – but the development illustrates how chaotic the ground fighting has become.
PRISONS AS TERROR RECRUITING STATIONS: Where do would-be European terrorists find each other? In the Belgian prison system, which according to a former inmate – and a new official campaign in Belgium to isolate potential extremists – has been a hotbed of radicalization.
At least two of the Paris attackers met each other in one of Belgium’s jails, where guard did not closely monitor or regulate the activities of increasingly religious subsets of the population. Extremist leaders found impressionable followers, according to this report, and under the guise of making a positive change in their lives via religion, many are turned to a different type of criminal thinking – one that can later fuel acts of home-grown terrorism when they get out.
CHINA, GLOBAL MONEY-LAUNDERING HUB: The Associated Press has a report about how China is growing increasingly popular with everyone from ordinary con men to gangs and drug lords to take their ill-earned money, get it looking legit, and then access their cash.
The AP talked to a noted con man and inventor of the “fake CEO scam,” who lives in Israel freely despite being convicted in absentia in France, for a first-hand look at how people launder money through China, recently ranked “the world’s largest exporter of illicit money,” the report says.