'Isis terror cell': Two members arrested in Belgium on suspicion of planning Christmas holiday attacks

Isis propaganda material was found during searches in Belgium

Lizzie Dearden@lizziedearden
Tuesday 29 December 2015 08:39
Police conducted searches on Sunday and Monday in Brussels, Liege and Flemish Brabant
Police conducted searches on Sunday and Monday in Brussels, Liege and Flemish Brabant

Two suspected members of an Isis cell have been arrested on suspicion of planning terror attacks in Belgium over the Christmas holidays.

Military-style uniforms, computer equipment and Isis propaganda was found during police raids in Brussels and the Flemish Brabant and Liege regions.

A spokesperson for the federal prosecutor’s office said the searches on Sunday and Monday had revealed “the threat of serious attacks that would have targeted several symbolic places in Brussels and be committed during the end-of-year holidays”.

Brussels metro reopens as terror alert stays at highest level

One of the suspects is charged with acting as the leader and recruiter for the terror cell and the other with participating in a terrorist group’s activities as a principal actor or co-actor.

The prosecutors’ office said they were among six people initially detained for questioning but the rest have since been released.

All seized items are currently being investigated but no weapons or explosives have been found.

Belgian newspapers reported that the two suspects may have been planning to attack police, saying “concrete threats” had been made to officers near the Grand Palace in Brussels.

The alert level at police stations was raised from two to three by the Belgian interior ministry and will last until next week at the earliest.

A spokesperson said no additional details of the case would be made public, but confirmed that the probe was not connected to the Paris attacks.

Belgium has been on a high state of alert since the massacres that killed 130 people on 13 November.

Several suspects, including the presumed ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud and fugitive Salah Abdeslam, had connections to Belgium or had lived in Brussels.

Additional reporting by agencies

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