3 jihadists reportedly killed in counter-terrorism raid in Belgium – Fox News
At least 3 people were killed in an anti-terror raid in Belgium Thursday that one official confirmed was “jihadist related,” and a man suspected of selling guns used in last week’s terror attacks in France was being detained in another part of the country, according to multiple reports.
The deadly raid was in Verviers, in eastern Belgium, according to the Telegraph. Belgian public television channel RTBF reported that the public prosecutor’s office confirmed the deaths of two suspects and arrests of “several” more. The station said there were no casualties among the security forces involved and that several people had been arrested. Federal prosecutors were quoted as saying there had been a police operation near the center of the city of 55,000, some 70 miles from Brussels.
Sky News reported three jihadists who had recently returned from Syria were killed. Explosions and gunfire were apparently heard near the station, according to Belgium’s public broadcaster RTBF. The Belga news agency said there were several casualties and police activity was continuing.
“An operation is underway,” a source in the mayor’s office told AFP without giving further details.
Another official told the agency it was “jihadist-related” and a news conference was scheduled for 8 p.m. local time.
Earlier, Reuters reported that Belgian authorities detained a man for arms dealing and are investigating whether he supplied one of the Islamist gunmen involved in the attacks in Paris, including a raid on the headquarters of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a separate siege at a Jewish supermarket two days later. A total of 17 victims and three terrorists were killed in the events.
Belgian media reported that the suspect turned himself in in the southern city of Charleroi on Tuesday, saying he had been in touch with Amedy Coulibaly, the behind the supermarket attack.
According to the reports, the man said that he swindled Coulibaly in a car sale, but police later found evidence that the two were negotiating about the sale of ammunition for a 7.62 mm caliber firearm.
“The man is being held by the judge in Charleroi on suspicion of arms dealing,” a spokesman for Belgium’s federal prosecution said. “Further investigations will have to show whether there is a link with the events in Paris,” he added.
It was not known if the raid in Belgium was directly related to recent events in France, but the nations share a 385-mile border and are close culturally and politically.On Sunday, the offices of Belgian newspaper Le Soir, a French-language publication that published caricatures of Prophet Muhammad to show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, were evacuated after a bomb threat. Also on Sunday, thousands marched through Brussels to show support for the French tabloid which was targeted by a pair of radicalized brothers because of its penchant for publishing images of Islam’s prophet.
A German tabloid that reprinted caricatures of Muhammad was firebombed on Sunday. But Charlie Hebdo came out with a new issue on Wednesday, with a caricature of Muhammad on the cover under the title “Tout est pardonne,” or “All is forgiven.”