Belgium Says 10 Held for Terrorism, Caucasus Rebel Ties
- The Associated Press
- Nov. 24 2010 00:00
- Last edited 23:23
BRUSSELS — Federal prosecutors in Belgium said Tuesday that 10 suspects have been detained in an anti-terrorism sweep in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
Those targeted were suspected of planning a possible attack in Belgium, the prosecutors said in a statement. Others were suspected of involvement in recruiting for an alleged Chechen terrorist organization, it said.
The arrests were not linked to the recent reports of possible terrorist attacks in Germany, said Judith Sluiter, a spokeswoman for the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
Ten homes were searched in the three countries Tuesday morning, and 10 suspects of Belgian, Dutch, Moroccan or Russian nationality were detained, the statement said. They follow arrests in Spain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, related to this investigation.
The Belgian prosecutors said "there was talk of plans for an attack in Belgium by an international jihadist organization" that uses the web site Ansar al Mujahideen. The place of the alleged attack had not been specified, the statement said.
The police also targeted "the recruiters, candidate jihadists and financing" for the Caucasus Emirate, which groups insurgents who seek to establish an Islamic emirate in the North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia. Its leader is Chechen rebel Doku Umarov.
Germany's Federal Criminal Police confirmed that one person was arrested near Aachen at the request of Belgian authorities, in connection with suspicion of recruiting young men in Belgium to fight in Chechnya.
In a statement, Dutch prosecutors said they had detained three men aged 25, 26 and 28 in Amsterdam at the request of Belgian authorities on suspicion of involvement in international terrorism.
The Dutch National Prosecutor's Office said Austria was also involved in the action.
Pictures of VTM television showed heavily armed police making a dawn raid in Belgium's northern port of Antwerp and detaining at least two people, including a woman.
Dutch authorities said Belgium had asked for the extradition of the three suspects arrested in Amsterdam.