Belgium charges three men with terrorism offences after overnight raids

Belgian prosecutors charged three men with terrorism offences on June 18 following overnight raids that took place amid heightened security in Belgium and France due to the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

Belgian police officers patrol in central Brussels, Belgium, June 18, 2016.

 

Three months after Islamist bombers killed 32 people in Brussels, police searched dozens of houses across the country and arrested 12 people the night before Belgium’s Euro 2016 game against Ireland.

Nine of them were released after questioning but three Belgian nationals identified as 27-year-old Samir C., 40-year-old Moustapha B., and 29-year-old Jawad B., were charged with “having attempted to commit a terrorist murder and for participation in the activities of a terrorist group”, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Some media reports said the suspects had planned attacks against fans watching the Euro 2016 games in Brussels, and had possibly been targeting June 18 afternoon’s Belgium vs Ireland match.

Earlier on June 18, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel chaired a meeting of the government’s security council, which includes the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, home affairs and justice, after the raids and said soccer-related events would go on as planned with extra security measures.

“We want to continue living normally,” Michel told a news conference. “The situation is under control.”

“We are extremely vigilant, we are monitoring the situation hour by hour and we will continue with determination the fight against extremism, radicalization and terrorism,” he added.

No weapons or explosives were found during the overnight searches, which also involved 152 garage lockups.

Reuters

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