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Belgium arrests two over suspected New Year attack plot


o-WOMEN-JAIL-facebookBelgian police have arrested two people suspected of plotting attacks against landmarks in Brussels during New Year celebrations, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The federal prosecutor’s office in Brussels, the home of the European Union, said police seized military-style uniforms and Islamic State propaganda in the raids on Sunday and Monday.

But investigators said the police action was not linked to the wave of deadly attacks in Paris in November which France says were prepared in Belgium.

One of the two was arrested on suspicion of planning attacks as well as “playing a lead role in the activities of a terrorist group and recruiting for terrorist acts,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The second faced charges of planning and “participating in the activities of a terrorist group,” it said.

“The investigation cast a light on serious threats of attacks believed to be aimed at several emblematic sites in Brussels and which would be carried out during the end-of-year celebrations.”

The suspects were arrested during raids in the Brussels area, in Flemish Brabant and near the southern French-speaking city of Liege.

The raids were ordered by an investigating magistrate in Brussels who specialises in terrorism cases.

A total of six people were detained, including the two suspected of plotting attacks, but the four others were later released, the prosecutor’s office said.

The raids turned up neither weapons nor explosives, but investigators found computer hardware, military-style training uniforms and Islamic State propaganda material, prosecutors said.

The Belgian authorities are still looking for suspects linked to the November 13 attacks on a Paris concert hall, restaurants, bars and the national stadium which left 130 people dead.

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