News / Europe

    3 Detained in Brussels Counterterrorism Raids

    Police look at bags of evidence material during a search in the Brussels borough of Schaerbeek following Tuesday's bombings in Brussels, Belgium, March 25, 2016.
    Police look at bags of evidence material during a search in the Brussels borough of Schaerbeek following Tuesday's bombings in Brussels, Belgium, March 25, 2016.
    Cindy SaineIsabela Cocoli

    Belgian prosecutors said Friday that three people had been detained in a counterterrorism operation in Brussels prompted by the arrest the day before of a Frenchman in Paris suspected of plotting a new attack.

    Prosecutors confirmed in a statement that Friday’s arrests were conducted in three districts of the capital — Schaerbeek, Forest and Saint-Gilles. Two of the three suspects suffered leg wounds.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry lays a wreath at the Brussels airport in honor of the victims of Tuesday's terror attacks, March 25, 2016. (C. Saine / VOA)
    US Secretary of State John Kerry lays a wreath at the Brussels airport in honor of the victims of Tuesday's terror attacks, March 25, 2016. (C. Saine / VOA)

    Prosecutors also said investigators had used DNA tests to determine that Naijm Laachraoui was one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up in the Brussels airport on Tuesday.

    WATCH: Pam Dockins' report on Kerry in Brussels

    Concerns Linger About Belgium’s Security as Kerry Pays Tributei
    X
    Pamela Dockins
    March 25, 2016 8:24 PM
    Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would continue to provide any assistance needed to Belgium in the aftermath of this week’s “heinous acts of terrorism.” He commented during a whirlwind visit to Brussels on Friday that included talks with Prime Minister Charles Michel and a tribute to victims. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.

    Laachraoui was also linked to the November 13 Paris attacks in which 130 people died. His DNA was found on a suicide vest and a piece of cloth discovered at the Bataclan concert hall where 90 people were killed.

    WATCH: Heather Murdock on the scene in Molenbeek

    On The Scene: Molenbeek Belgiumi
    X
    March 25, 2016 4:28 PM
    VOA's Heather Murdock reports from the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium where it's been a trying week after Tuesday's bombings that left 31 people dead and 300 injured.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Brussels on Friday for talks with Belgian and European leaders about the attacks. During his visit, he said U.S. and coalition members had a message for anyone who would kill and wound innocent civilians going about their everyday lives:  

    "We will not be deterred. We will come back with greater resolve, with greater strength, and we will not rest until we have eliminated your nihilistic beliefs and cowardice from the face of the Earth."

    Police guard a check point during a police raid in the suburb of Schaerbeek in Brussels, March, 24, 2016.
    Police guard a check point during a police raid in the suburb of Schaerbeek in Brussels, March, 24, 2016.

    Speaking with VOA and other reporters in Brussels, Kerry declined to blame the Belgian government for not thwarting the attacks, saying, "carping" afterward was "inappropriate."  He said the U.S. and Belgium had already scheduled a number of counterterrorism training sessions. 

    WATCH: Related video report by Jeff Seldin

    Belgium’s Counterterror Struggles Underscore Long-Simmering Concernsi
    X
    Jeff Seldin
    March 24, 2016 11:22 PM
    The scramble by Belgium’s security agencies following the Brussels terror attacks is putting the country’s counterterrorism apparatus under an intense spotlight, with criticism pouring in from around the world. VOA national security correspondent Jeff Seldin reports.

    2 Americans killed

    The three blasts touched off Tuesday in Brussels killed 31 people and injured about 300. A senior U.S. official confirmed that two Americans were among the dead.

    U.S. officials have told reporters that the brothers who carried out the attacks, Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, were on a terrorism watch list in the United States.

    Belgian federal prosecutors said six people had been detained for possible links to the attacks.

    Police and other emergency workers stand in front of the damaged Zaventem Airport terminal in Brussels on March 23, 2016.
    Police and other emergency workers stand in front of the damaged Zaventem Airport terminal in Brussels on March 23, 2016.

    Meeting Thursday near one of the attack sites, European Union justice and interior ministers pledged to deepen joint intelligence gathering and swiftly push through measures to share airline passenger information and step up the fight against terrorism.

    “We don’t need new plans; we need to fully implement the plans and measures that have been taken,” said Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk of the Netherlands, which currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.

    People holding a banner reading "I am Brussels" behind flowers and candles to mourn for the victims at Place de la Bourse in the center of Brussels, March 22, 2016.
    People holding a banner reading "I am Brussels" behind flowers and candles to mourn for the victims at Place de la Bourse in the center of Brussels, March 22, 2016.

    The emergency meeting offered a stark counterpart to the EU’s usually staid gatherings, especially since it took place near the Maalbeek metro station, one of the targets of the attacks.

    "Everybody feels the attack on Belgium was an attack on Europe and the values we stand for together," Plasterk said. "Europe has been under attack before, but we’ve always defended liberty and democracy and we will do that together."

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Toby Anna from: Russia
    March 25, 2016 3:26 PM
    It's may started with who has harrash EU for months with their bomber and just started calling serious fighting ISIS may shown a sign of threat as always giving twisted messages.......IMHO

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 25, 2016 2:57 PM
    I am at a loss what terrorists want. When I think of this evil, one name continues to resurface like a recurring decimal – islam. It’s appalling, especially when USA president/others, prime-ministers etc, tell us ‘islam’s-a-religion-of-peace’. That becomes the highest lie coming from official quarters, seeming adopted in Western capitals except a few. Lying under their oath to uphold justice and truth is perjury. It’s highest hypocrisy, and it must be rejected. It’s high time these prime ministers, presidents, secretaries, pope etc. stop this hypocrisy and tell everybody the truth. islam has bred all this trouble! Even though it brings out possibility of unification of world when these evils happen, it also brings out the evil of the religion that keeps breeding the evil. When Erdogan walked out on a president on the sidelines of UN conference some years ago, he received long ovation in his country and others who love that extremism, and because USA/West was too weak to address islamists in truth, it allowed that, which’s grown to give teeth to these troubles. If the world’ll tell the muslims the truth, this’d make them ashamed evil. If we continue to praise them, we deceive ourselves and the trouble continues.

    by: Alice from: Canada
    March 25, 2016 1:45 PM
    It is unfortunate but two steps must be taken if Europe is to survive. One, recognize that the problem of terrorism comes out of radical Islam and that many Muslims, perhaps most, living in Europe support radical Islam. That must lead to the immediate suspension immigration to Europe of all Muslims. This should stay in place for at least 3 months after which the number of Muslims allowed to immigrate into Europe must be reduced by 90 percent or more.

    Two, either Europe fully integrates and become one country with fully amalgamated police forces, (the United States of Europe) or all border checks and barriers are reinstated. If these steps are not taken fascist and racist elements will gain power all over Europe to deal with violent Muslim fanatics. Everyone loses. Not a pretty thought.

    by: anynmous from: usa
    March 25, 2016 9:41 AM
    how many times they discuss of isis? is their discussion yield a positive result and they have to produce effective plan to destroy isis and other radical Islam ? the fact that US and Europe have no plan. the fact that radical Islam can hide easily in Europe and US easily. the fact that Muslim brotherhood are not banned from US. the fact that US Gov. help to release a member of Muslim brotherhood from Egyptian jail because he is American citizen . Our policy give mix message . .we give speeches but without action

    by: PermReader
    March 25, 2016 8:18 AM
    The main problem of the European police is,as the British maior Johnson explains, is to get into Muslim quarter.Laugh or cry,choose.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 25, 2016 8:01 AM
    [It's pitiful]... The US and the Europeans always hold meetings after the ISIL terrorist attacks discussing the same old problems and non-solutions that they have discussed a thousand times before? .. and always reiterating that they won't let themselves be terrified by the terrorist attacks, and blaming radicalized Muslims who become ISIL Jihadists?

    IF the US was really serious about defeating and destroying the Sunni Muslim ISIL terrorists, they should use all US military resources to hunt and kill the Sunni Muslim Caliph al-Baghdadi to destroy his ISIL Caliphate? .. These individuals who became ISIL terrorists that commit these terrorist acts answered the call of the Caliph al-Baghdadi to defend the faith and Ummah? ..

    he Ummah represents a universal world order, (ruled by a Caliph) in accordance with the Sharia, Islamic religious law of Allah, where every man, woman and child has an obligation to defend the faith and Ummah when called for by the Caliph? .. IF the US kills the Caliph (like Hulagu Khan did) to end the reign of the last Caliph of Baghdad, then the Caliph al-Baghdadi ISIL Caliphate will die with him too? .. It's that simple? .. It's guaranteed?

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