Saturday

17th Feb 2018

Anti-terror raid leaves two dead in Belgium

  • Belgian police were deployed to prevent 'imminent' terrorist attacks (Photo: Ray Forster)

Jewish schools stayed closed in Belgium on Friday and the country elevated its terror alert after two suspects were killed and one injured on Thursday afternoon (15 January) in an anti-terror raid by Belgian police.

The shoot-out took place around 5pm local time in a former bakery in the south-eastern town of Verviers in the French-speaking region of Wallonia.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

According to the state prosecutor's office, police stormed the suspects' hideout only to be met by bullets fired from small and assault weapons.

At the same time, police were deployed in several parts of the Belgian capital, Brussels, and in the area around the main airport, Zaventem.

Belgian police acted to prevent "imminent, large-scale attacks," two officials from the Belgian state prosecutor office said in a press conference on Thursday night.

Several searches were carried out at the homes of suspects planning the attacks. Some of the suspects had recently returned from Syria, the Belgian officials said.

Prosecutor spokesperson Eric Van der Sypt noted that those targeted in the raid had been under surveillance since coming back from the Middle East and were close to carrying out an attack.

Meanwhile, witnesses on the Brussels metro spoke of an armed man who got off the train at the Ribaucourt metro stop shouting "Allahu akbar" before being arrested. It later emerged that the man was drunk and had mental issues, RTL reported Friday.

The Belgian police action is part of a broader international anti-terrorist action which includes some seven countries, the RTL broadcaster reported.

The shoot-out, house searches, and arrests come at just one week after the massacre in Paris, where 17 people were killed in separate attacks on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, and a kosher store.

The attacks were later claimed by Al Qaeda in Yemen, while one of the attackers, Amedy Coulibaly, shot dead by police, had bought his weapons in Belgium.

A man accused of having sold Coulibaly the assault weapons was seized by Belgian police Thursday.

The Belgian authortities subsequently raised the terrorist alert from two to three (out of four).

Policemen in Antwerp were also allowed to carry their duty weapons home, Le Soir reports.

Jewish schools in Brussels and Antwerp were advised to stay closed on Friday.

“We have been informed that we are a possible target and therefore we will not take any risk”, said Isi Morsel, head of a Jewish school in Antwerp according to Jewish news website Joods Actueel.

Belgian authorities on Thursday could not confirm if there is a link between the Verviers suspects and the Paris attackers.

The Belgian government was due to hold an emergency meeting Friday morning, while the state prosecutor's office planned to hold another press conference at 11am.

This story was updated at 8am on Friday 16 January

Opinion

Perspectives against extremism

We need to try and understand why the Paris and Verviers attacks were committed by young adults born and raised in the heart of Europe.

Greek EU commissioner challenges bribery allegations

Dimitris Avramopoulos says he will mount a legal challenge to reveal the identities of people behind allegations that he, along with other former Greek ministers, had accepted money from a Swiss pharmaceutical giant.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses 'no danger'
  2. Spanish king in Barcelona next week
  3. Turkey jails journalists for life
  4. Make budget cuts in farm and regional funds, the Dutch say
  5. UN: Hungary's anti-migration bill is 'assault on human rights'
  6. Journalist Deniz Yucel freed in Turkey
  7. New organic farming bill not ready until late spring
  8. Commissioner: Western Balkans in EU is 'obvious'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  2. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  3. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  4. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  6. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  7. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  8. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  9. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  10. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  11. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  12. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections

Latest News

  1. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  2. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK
  3. EU states stay mute on implementation of mercury bill
  4. Baltic states demand bigger EU budget
  5. Germany raises concerns over Hungary's 'Stop Soros' bills
  6. EU ties Brexit transition talks to divorce agreement
  7. EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement
  8. Facebook and Twitter weak on protecting users, says EU