الإثنين , يونيو 15 2020

Belgium rules out Greek terror link

A Belgian solider stands guard at a synagogueBelgium has raised the national security threat level and soldiers are patrolling the streets

The Belgian authorities say there is no link between several people arrested in Greece and a suspected Islamist terror plot broken up on Thursday.

One of those arrested matched the description of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged leader of the cell reportedly planning to kill police officers.

But checks made in Belgium showed there was no connection to investigations into the plot, prosecutors said.

Europe is on high alert after Islamist gunmen killed 17 people in Paris.

More than 20 people have been arrested in Belgium, France and Germany.

For the first time in 35 years, troops are on the streets of Belgium guarding sensitive targets.



Belgian soldier guarding US embassy

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Ben Bland reports on the heightened security across Europe

More than 150 have been patrolling potential targets for militants, including the US embassy, synagogues and the Jewish museum.

Defence officials said the nation’s security threat level would remain raised at three – the second highest level – for at least a week.

Jihadi plot

Belgium launched a series of raids on Thursday evening on a group of suspected jihadists.

Guns, munitions and explosives, as well as police uniforms and a large amount of money, were all seized by police during the operation.

Two suspects were shot dead during a gun battle with police in the town of Verviers, close to the German border.

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Prosecutors said the group had planned to kill police officers and they charged five people on Friday with “participating in the activities of a terrorist group”.

On Saturday, Belgian media said authorities were seeking Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 27-year-old Brussels resident of Moroccan origin suspected of being the ringleader of the jihadi cell, and in hiding in Greece.

Prosecutors in Brussels refused to comment on whether he was among those arrested.

No link has been established between the terrorist plot in Belgium and last week’s attacks in Paris which killed 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a policewoman and four others at kosher supermarket.

The developments have highlighted concerns about the return of young Europeans who have gone to fight in Iraq and Syria.

Belgium says up to 350 of its citizens have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq, the highest number per capita in Europe. About 100 have returned, and are being monitored by the intelligence services.

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