Suspects face terrorism charges after raids in Belgium | News | DW | 18.10.2016
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Suspects face terrorism charges after raids in Belgium

Police raided 15 homes in three northern Belgium cities in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Those charged are suspected of financing terror groups and recruiting people on behalf of the so-called "Islamic State."

Prosecutors in Belgium on Tuesday charged four people with involvement in terrorist activities after police raided 15 homes in the cities of Ghent, Antwerp and Deinze.

"Those persons have been indicted for participation in the activities of a terrorist group, amongst others its funding," a police statement said. "Some of them are suspected of recruiting people with a view to departing to Syria and joining "Islamic State" (IS) there."

Authorities initially detained 15 people for questioning following the raids. The four people charged will face an investigating judge, police said.

No arms or explosives were found during the raids, police said, nor was there an established link with the Brussels suicide bomb attacks in March, claimed by IS, that killed 32 people.

Belgium's high terror alert

Tensions have been high in Belgium following the March attacks. Authorities believe the attacks were planned and carried out by home-grown jihadist extremists, some of whom had grown up in central Brussels.

A number of the assailants also took part in the November Paris attacks, which killed 130 people and injured hundreds more.

However, despite the increased security presence, there have been several incidents in Belgium since then. Earlier in October, two police officers were stabbed in the Schaerbeek area of Brussels. In August, two policewomen in the city of Charleroi were seriously wounded by a man wielding a machete and who was shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest).

dm/se (Reuters, AP, AFP)