“16 raids in Brussels and one in the eastern city of Liege.”
“Belgian police arrest Al Qaeda terror suspects,” from Agence France-Presse, December 11 (thanks to Alex):
AFP – Belgian police on Thursday arrested 14 suspected Al-Qaeda members, including a man believed to have been planning a suicide attack, officials announced, as EU leaders gathered in Brussels.
“We don’t know where the suicide attack was to take place,” federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle told reporters.
“It could have been an operation in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but it can’t be ruled out that Belgium or Europe could have been the target.”
The raids were made as European leaders were gathering in the Belgian capital for a two-day summit.
The suspect in question had “received the green light to carry out an operation from which he was not expected to come back,” and “had said goodbye to his loved ones, because he wanted to enter paradise with a clear conscience,” Delmulle cited investigators as saying.
“This information, linked to the fact that a European summit is getting underway at this moment in Brussels, left us no choice but to take action today,” he said.
A total of 242 police officers carried out raids 16 raids in Brussels and one in the eastern city of Liege.
The enquiry described as “the most important” anti-terrorism operation in Belgium, is linked to a Belgian Islamist group involved in training as well as fighting on the Pakistan-Afghan border, in liaison with “important figures” in Al-Qaeda, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.
The year-old investigation “probably prevented plans for an attack from being carried out in Brussels,” last year, it added.