Thursday, 6 July 2017

Belgium hunts terror ring over ‘fake police’ plot

Belgium hunts terror ring over ‘fake police’ plot

Police are hunting “several” members of a Belgian terror ring amid fears of a possible attack if the group “feel cornered”.
The ongoing search follows the discovery of a huge stash of weapons in a Brussels suburb, including Kalashnikov rifles, smaller firearms, ammunition, bullet proof vests, detonators, a blue police beacon and security and police uniforms.

The items found in a lock-up garage sparked concern potential attackers could have been plotting to pose as police and other officials.
It is also feared the discovery of the store, which followed the search of six properties, could provoke an attack similar to the bombings in the Belgian capital last year.
The attack on an airport and a metro station on 22 March, 2016, which killed 32 and injured more than 300, occurred after police came across a weapons cache as they hunted an Islamic State cell linked to attacks in Paris the year before.
Police charged two brothers of a convicted jihadist on Wednesday but revealed on Thursday they are looking for further members of a potential terror cell.
Eric van der Sypt, spokesman for the country’s federal prosecutors’ office, said: “We are still looking for several terrorism suspects.
“We fear they may feel cornered. We therefore fear there could be the same reaction as on March 22.”
Belgian nationals Akim and Khalid Saouti, who were among four people detained in overnight raids on Tuesday, are believed to be the brothers of Said Saouti, a member of the Kamikaze Riders motorcycle club.
They were charged with belonging to a “terrorist group” and suspected of planning an attack.
Last year, Said was jailed for recruiting people to jihadist organisations and supporting Islamic State on social media.
The Kamikaze Riders are feared to be closely associated with terror groups active in Iraq and Syria.
Of the four people held in the Anderlecht area of Brussels on Wednesday, two were later released after questioning.
A fifth man, reportedly suspected of planning a “violent attack”, was arrested across the border in northern France, close to the city of Lille.
Belgian and French police co-operated on the joint investigation.

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