2 arrested on suspicion of plotting New Year's Eve attacks in Belgium

Belgium Arrests 2 Over Suspected New Year's Terror Attack in Brussels
Belgium Arrests 2 Over Suspected New Year's Terror Attack in Brussels

Two people were arrested in Belgium on suspicion they were planning attacks in the country's capital city, Brussels, during the holidays.

The pair had planned to target the city on New Year's Eve, according to a statement from the country's federal prosecutor's office Tuesday.

The investigation revealed "the threat of serious attacks that would target several emblematic places in Brussels and be committed during the end-of-year holidays," the prosecutor's office said.

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The statement did not specify if the two people were male or female, but said they were arrested after a series of searches on Sunday and Monday in Brussels, the Liege region and Flemish Brabant.

No weapons or explosives were found in the raids, but police reportedly seized military-style clothing and computer equipment.

See photos of anti-terrorism raids across Europe after the Paris attacks:

Islamic State propaganda was also found among the belongings of those arrested. Other information was found on the pair's computers and the prosecutor's office is currently investigating them.

Six people were initially taken into custody for questioning, but four were released, the office said.

One person was charged with recruiting others to carry out a planned attack and acting as the leader of a terrorist group. The other person was charged with "participating in a terrorist group's activities as a principal actor or co-actor," the prosecutor's office said.

The prosecutor's office said no additional details would be made public, but that the probe was not connected to the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, in which numerous suspects, including presumed ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud and fugitive Salah Abdeslam, had connections to Belgium.

Brussels became the focus of investigations into the Paris attacks after it was revealed that Abaaoud, Abdeslam and others may have hatched the plot in part from city. The predominantly Muslim, working class neighborhood of Molenbeek was targeted by several police raids that led to a series of arrests in connection to the case.

The terror alert in the city was also raised for several days on Nov. 21, a week after the attacks in Paris, to the country's highest level, leaving much of the city on lockdown. Schools and the city's metro were closed as a result, and members of the military patrolled the streets, after precise information
on a potential attack.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel proposed new measures to expand powers for police to search and wiretap any terror suspects. The measures would also allow authorities to jail suspected fighters returning to Belgium from Iraq and Syria.

Local news outlets report that the latest arrests have resulted in police in Brussels being placed on heightened alert.

Additional information from the Associated Press.

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