Belgium detains 2 in new anti-terror raids

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BRUSSELS: Belgian police detained two men for questioning after fresh anti-terror raids overnight, the federal prosecutor’s office said Saturday amid reports of a planned attack on a Euro 2016 fanzone.

“One man was arrested in (the eastern town of) Verviers and another man in Tournai,” close to the French border, a spokesman said.

“It is too soon to talk about a terror attack. The two men have to be questioned first,” he added.

Belgium remains on high alert after the March attacks on Brussels airport and on the city’s busy metro system which killed 32 people and were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.


Several of those involved in the bloodshed were also directly linked to the November attacks in Paris which left 130 dead. They were planned in Brussels and also claimed by IS.

The RTL news service, citing unnamed sources, said on its website said the man detained in Verviers was planning an attack on fans watching Belgium’s next Euro 2016 game against Hungary on Sunday.

Last Saturday, Belgium charged three men with “attempted terrorist murder” after massive anti-terror raids linked to a reported threat to fans during a Euro 2016 game.

At the time, prosecutors said they were responding to the need for “an immediate intervention.”

Police initially detained 40 people in the June 17-18 raids in Brussels and across the country but found no arms or explosives.

In response, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel promised “additional and updated security measures” and stressed that public events would go ahead as planned, including those linked to the Euro football championships.

“We want to continue living normally,” he said.

Belgium police killed two IS jihadis in a raid in Verviers in January 2015 who were later found to be linked to the cells involved in both the Brussels and Paris attacks.

Euro 2016 host France meanwhile is on maximum alert. AFP

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