Belgium Arrests 2 Suspected of New Year’s Terror Plot

VOA News

Prosecutors in Belgium said Tuesday police arrested two people suspected of planning holiday terror attacks in Brussels.

They said investigators found evidence pointing to “the threat of serious attacks that would target several emblematic places” on New Year’s Eve.

The prosecutor’s office did not specify any potential targets in its statement. In addition to being Belgium’s capital city, Brussels is also the home to the headquarters of the European Commission and NATO, as well as offices of multiple United Nations agencies.

The arrests happened Sunday and Monday after searches near Brussels and Liege turned up military-style uniforms and Islamic State propaganda materials. Authorities said no weapons or explosives were found.
Initially a total of six people were detained, but four have been released. One of those arrested was charged with acting as a terror group leader and recruiting others for terrorist acts.

Prosecutors said the case was not connected to the November 13 attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people. Several of the suspects in those attacks, including the presumed ringleader, had links to Belgium.

In the six weeks since the Paris assault, police in Belgium have made arrests during multiple anti-terror raids. One of those arrests came last week when authorities charged a man suspected of having contact with the cousin of alleged Paris attack organizer Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

Abaaoud and the cousin, identified as Hasna Ait Boulahcen, were killed in a police raid in Saint Denis, France, days after the attacks.

Police are still looking for Brussels native Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of direct involvement in the attacks.