Anti-terrorist operation in Belgium. Eight people were arrested on Monday evening as part of two ongoing investigations on suspicion of a “terrorist attack”, the federal prosecutor’s office announced on Tuesday.
Potential targets have not been determined at this stage, the prosecution said in a statement. According to a judicial source contacted by AFP, the arrested are “very young radicalized” from the jihadist movement. There was talk of a planned attack in each of the two files, which have links between them, said this source.
Preparations for attacks on Belgian soil
Five searches were carried out in Molenbeek (Brussels region), Eupen (east) and in Dutch-speaking Belgium (north) in the three Antwerp districts of Merksem, Borgerhout and Deurne, as part of the first case, investigated in Antwerp. They resulted in five arrests, and at least two of these five suspects are suspected of having “prepared to commit a terrorist attack in Belgium”.
In the second case, investigated in Brussels, three suspects were arrested in Molenbeek, Schaerbeek (another Brussels municipality) and in Zaventem, very close to the capital. These people are also suspected of having prepared an attack on Belgian soil. “There are links between the two files, but a more in-depth investigation will have to reveal to what extent the two cases were intertwined”, underlines the federal prosecution.
Belgium was the target of attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group seven years ago, which is worth ten men – including one absent, presumed dead in Syria – currently being tried by a court of seated. These attacks left 32 dead and more than 340 injured on March 22, 2016.