Al-Qaeda suspects arrested in Belgium ahead of EU summit

December 11th, 2008 - 9:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Dec 11 (DPA) Fourteen suspected members of Al Qaeda were arrested in Brussels Thursday, just hours before European Union (EU)heads of state and government were due to meet in the Belgian capital, media reports said.The arrests were the result of 16 early morning raids involving more than 240 policemen in Brussels and Liege.

Police sources said three of the arrested had recently returned from a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan or Pakistan, and that one of them had recently bid his relatives farewell in a video.

Investigators said one of the suspects had just “received the green light to carry out an operation,” possibly in Belgium or elsewhere in Europe, the on-line edition of Le Soir newspaper reported.

But prosecutors also said they could not exclude the possibility that the alleged terrorists had been planning to target the EU summit.

The police operation capped a year-long investigation into suspect Al Qaeda operatives in Belgium.

“Given the fact that the EU summit is taking place at this time in Brussels, obviously we had no choice but to act today,” Belgian federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle was quoted as saying.

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