The Belgian authorities have arrested two people in connection with a plot to attack Brussels around New Year’s Eve, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
In a series of raids on Sunday and Monday around Brussels, the surrounding Flemish-speaking region of Brabant, and the city of Liège, the authorities found Islamic State propaganda and military-style hardware and computer equipment in the homes of the two suspects.
Investigators say they believe that the two suspects being held “were possibly planning” and “had the intention to carry out” terrorist attacks on Brussels’s city center “in the same style” as the coordinated series of attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office said.
No arms or explosives were discovered, prosecutors said, the authorities did not identify the suspects, and they have not established any links to the Paris attacks. Four other people were held for questioning before being released.
The authorities said they had found evidence of “serious threats” to multiple locations in Brussels, including the Police Headquarters for the city center and the nearby central square known as the Grand Place or Grote Markt. It is the city’s biggest tourist attraction, and it is packed with crowds around Christmas.
One suspect, who is believed to be the lead plotter, is expected to be charged with leading a terrorist organization and recruiting others for terrorist purposes. The other suspect is likely to be charged as a participant in a terrorist organization.
Brussels’s alert level was raised to the highest one possible for several days after the November attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people and were carried out mainly by attackers who had connections to Belgium.
Read more: NY Times
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