The police have arrested eight people – three in Brussels and five in Antwerp – suspected of planning an attack in Belgium. The federal public prosecutor’s office, comparable to the Public Prosecution Service in the Netherlands, announces this in a press release. “There were preparatory actions,” said Eric Van der Sypt, spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office.
Five houses in Merksem, Borgerhout, Deurne, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek and Eupen were searched at the request of an investigating judge in Antwerp as part of an investigation file by the federal public prosecutor’s office. The results of these house searches will not be communicated.
Five people were arrested and taken in for questioning. The examining magistrate will decide later whether they will be brought to trial. At least two of those involved are suspected of having made preparations to commit a terrorist attack in Belgium.
In another investigation file of the federal prosecutor’s office, three house searches were carried out in Zaventem, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek and Schaarbeek. As a result of this file, three people were arrested and taken for questioning. These persons are also suspected of having made preparations to commit a terrorist attack in Belgium.
The target of the attack has not yet been determined, the federal prosecutor’s office said. “In both cases, the suspects had plans to commit an attack. There were preparatory actions,” says Eric Van der Sypt, spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office. “We take it very seriously in both cases.”
Both files could be linked to each other, but further research will have to show to what extent the groups were intertwined. These are all young, but adult suspects who would have quickly become radicalized.
“During the investigation, we did notice that people from Antwerp and Brussels had contact with each other,” said the federal prosecutor’s office. For now, it does not want to provide any further information.
OCAD, the coordination body for the threat analysis, says that based on current information, there is no impact on the threat level in Belgium.
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