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Belgian Authorities Arrest Man on Terrorism Charges

  • VOA News

FILE - Belgium police officers secure an area during a police operation in Etterbeek, near Brussels, Belgium, April 9, 2016.

FILE - Belgium police officers secure an area during a police operation in Etterbeek, near Brussels, Belgium, April 9, 2016.

A 33-year-old man in Belgium has been arrested on terrorism charges and accused of intending to commit murder during a terror plot that apparently was still in the planning stages.

The suspect, identified only as Noureddine H., was detained during a series of house searches late Friday in the city of Liege and the Mons region, which includes NATO's military headquarters.

Noureddine's brother, Hamza H., was detained at the same time but was released later without being charged, the Belgian federal prosecutor's office said.

Authorities released no details about the terror plot, such as when or where attackers intended to strike. An official statement said only that an investigation indicated the man under arrest was planning to carry out an attack somewhere in Belgium.

Both the European Union and NATO are based in Belgium, with many of their institutions in Brussels, the capital. The Western alliance's military headquarters, known as Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, is in the town of Mons, about 65 kilometers from Brussels.

Belgian media reports said suspected terrorist Noureddine had previously assisted would-be jihadists trying to reach Syria. He was said to have traveled recently across a wide area in Europe, seeking to acquire weapons.

Belgian authorities said no weapons or explosives were recovered during their searches in Liege and Mons. The country has remained on a high security alert since deadly bombing attacks in Brussels in March, which were claimed by the Islamic State group, and also as a result of deadly attacks since last year in France and Germany.

A number of the terrorists involved in the multiple attacks that paralyzed Paris last November either had lived in Belgium or had links to extremist groups there.

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