Belgium charges 2 with terror over Paris attacks

2015-11-16 16:45
A member of the Belgian special intervention force stands on top of a roof as they prepare to enter a house in Brussels. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert, AP)

A member of the Belgian special intervention force stands on top of a roof as they prepare to enter a house in Brussels. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert, AP)

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Brussels - Belgian authorities have charged two people who were arrested after the Paris attacks with involvement in terrorism, prosecutors said on Monday.

The pair were charged "with a terrorist act and participation in the activities of a terrorist group", while five others detained at the weekend were freed without charge, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Gunmen and suicide bombers launched a series of attacks on Friday at several locations in Paris, killing 132 people.

In what seems to be another breakthrough, Dutch police have arrested two people after a massive operation at in south Limburg province, close to the Belgian border, Dutch media reported on Monday.

Video images showed at least 10 marked and unmarked police vehicles at a barn near the small town of Susteren, 30km north of Maastricht, while a police helicopter was circling overhead.

Some police officers could be seen wearing balaclavas.

An employee at a nearby car dealership, who asked not to be named, told AFP "there is a lot of police here and they have closed off the area".

National Dutch news agency ANP reported that a robot device was being used by the Dutch explosives clearance unit, while at least one of the two people arrested were instructed to remove their clothes, according to witnesses.

The Netherlands has been on high alert since Friday's attacks in Paris, but there was no immediate confirmation of any link.

Police and the public prosecutors' office were not immediately available for comment.

One of the key suspects in the terror attacks is Salah Abdeslam, 26, against whom an international arrest warrant has been issued by French police, who have described him as "dangerous". Belgian media described him as "public enemy number one".

Meanwhile, German authorities said on Monday they had arrested an Algerian asylum seeker who reportedly told other migrants early last week that Paris would be hit by bomb attacks.

"He is said to have told other refugees the previous Sunday or last Monday that a bomb or bombs would go off in Paris four days later," a senior prosecutor, Werner Wolff, told AFP.

Prosecutors are now examining if the 39-year-old Algerian arrested in an asylum seeker shelter on Saturday in Arnsberg, western Germany is guilty of failing to report knowledge of a crime, and if he was indeed aware that the attacks would take place.

Read more on:    belgium  |  france  |  paris under attack

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