Belgium detains six in raids for alleged New Year's terrorist plot

Belgian investigators detained six people for questioning after a series of Thursday raids in relation to an alleged terrorist plot targeting key sites in Brussels during New Year's celebrations.

Belgium has been on high alert since the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, as many of the perpetrators had links to Belgium. The end-of-year terrorist plot is being treated as a separate menace, however.

Prosecutors said that seven searches took place early Thursday in Brussels' Molenbeek neighbourhood and in the suburbs of Anderlecht and Laeken, as well as in the Flemish municipality of Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, bordering the capital.

Investigators seized telephones, computing paraphernalia and items used for airsoft, a combat simulation activity involving replica firearms. The items were undergoing analysis, according to a prosecution statement.

A decision would be taken later Thursday regarding the continued detention or arrest of the six individuals, the statement said.

Two other people have been placed under arrest in relation to the alleged New Year's plot.

Thirty-year-old Said S and Mohammed K, aged 27, who are both Belgian citizens, will remain in custody for a month, prosecutors announced Thursday. They were both detained following raids on Sunday and Monday.

Said S is charged with: participating in the activities of a terrorist group as a leader; recruiting with a view to commit terrorist acts as a perpetrator or accomplice; and being implicated in the threat of an attack, prosecutors said, confirming previous media reports.

Mohammed K is charged with participating in the activities of a terrorist group as a perpetrator or accomplice and being implicated in the threat of an attack. His lawyer has denied the charges, according to the Belga news agency.

Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur decided Wednesday to cancel the city's New Year's Eve fireworks display due to the terrorist threat.

Last update: Sat, 02/01/2016 - 08:04
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