Belgian police arrest two men suspected of preparing attack

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 6, 2017

The statement says one of the raids centered on a garage where police found "three Kalashnikovs, about fifteen Kalashnikov magazines, a riot gun, three small firearms with ammunition", police uniforms and detonators.

This case of counter-terrorism is completely distinct from the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels in November 2015 and in March 2016, said the federal prosecutor.

They had plans to carry out an attack, Flemish-language broadcaster VRT said, citing sources, adding those plans were still at a very early stage and no specific target had yet been chosen. "We therefore fear there could be the same reaction as on March 22".

La Voix du Nord newspaper said the arrest in France had followed a raid by counter-terrorist police in the early hours of Wednesday in a suburb of the northern city of Lille.

State broadcasters said those arrested had links to a group called the Kamikaze Riders, a motorbike group based in the city whose members are mostly of North African origin and previously linked to jihadist groups. In October 2016, two members were convicted of belonging to a terrorist group.

Authorities were drawn to the Saouti brothers on suspicion that they had been radicalised and were planning an attack, according to reports.

Last month a soldier shot dead a man who had attempted to set off a bomb in Brussels' Central Station, sparking fears that further attacks could happen.

Formed in 2003, they are suspected of links to ISIS and foiled attacks in Brussels in 2015.

Police are hunting "several" members of a Belgian terror ring amid fears of a possible attack if the group "feel cornered".

Belgian and French police co-operated on the joint investigation, with prosecutors saying the raids were "directly linked" to members of the Kamikaze Riders and not part of the investigation into the Brussels and Paris attacks.

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