Belgian Police Arrest Seven on Terror Charges

According to prosecutors, the Belgian police have arrested seven individuals suspected of supporting Islamic State (IS) and plotting a terrorist attack.

Prosecutors said in a statement that almost all of the suspects are of Chechen descent, while three have Belgian citizenship.

They stated, “The exact target of the planned attack has not yet been determined.”

In an operation commanded by an investigating judge specializing in terrorism cases, police raided nine residences in several western Belgian towns. The judge will determine “at a later stage” whether there is sufficient evidence to charge the suspects, according to the statement.

Possible allegations include attempted terrorist assassination, participation in the activities of a terrorist group, and planning a terrorist attack, according to the report.

All seven, according to prosecutors, “are suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Belgium.”

All of them “belong to a group of staunch IS supporters.”

Eric Van Duyse, a spokesman for the federal prosecutors’ office, stated that the suspects “apparently intended to target a Belgian institution” and “actively searched for weapons.”

The police operations took place in the cities of Ghent, Roeselare, Menen, Ostend, and Wevelgem.

IS claimed responsibility for suicide explosions at Brussels airport and Maelbeek metro station in Belgium on March 22, 2016, which killed 32 people and injured hundreds.

These bombings occurred months after the Paris attacks in November 2015, which were plotted by the same IS cell and resulted in the deaths of 130 people.

Chechnya, a republic in the North Caucasus region of Russia, is predominantly Muslim. It is governed by pro-Kremlin leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who supports Vladimir Putin and the conflict in Ukraine and has dispatched his militia to fight there.