House searches Friday in Mons, Liege
No connection at present with the twin bombings in Brussels in March
One of two brothers arrested by Belgian police Friday is being charged with two terror-related counts, the country’s federal prosecutor’s office reported Saturday.
The other brother was released without charges, the prosecutor’s statement said.
An investigating judge charged the brother identified only as Nourredine H. with attempting to commit a terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist organization, the statement added.
Authorities did not release any information about the alleged plot or the results of the searches of seven houses in Mons and one house in Liege, which led to the arrests.
“For the time being there is no connection with the terrorist attacks” on March 22 at the Brussels airport and a metro station in the same city, the prosector’s office said Saturday. ISIS claimed responsibility for the twin bombings, which killed 32 people
Last month, Belgian authorities questioned 40 people and arrested 12 of them in a raid related to a terrorism investigation, the federal prosecutor’s office said.
The operation included searches of dozens of houses spread through 16 municipalities.
Belgian state broadcaster RTBF reported Saturday that the overnight raids were made after messages were intercepted indicating attacks were being planned. The possible targets were places where Belgian football fans congregated to watch Euro 2016 games.
No arms or explosives were found in the raids, the office added.
Heightened security protection
Ahead of the June raids, several senior ministers were given heightened security protection because of new intelligence about specific threats, according to RTBF, which cited the government’s Coordinating Unit for Threat Analysis.
Prime Minister Charles Michel, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and Interior Minister Jan Jambon were among those receiving heightened protection, RTBF reports.
Per capita, Belgium has the highest number of foreign fighters in Syria of any Western European nation.