Big anti-terrorist operation in Antwerp

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Belgian police arrested 13 suspected members of an Islamist terror group in an operation in Antwerp on Tuesday.

The suspects were detained for spreading jihadist propaganda on social media, though police said it was unclear whether they had made concrete plans to launch an attack. Around 100 police officers were deployed at 13 different addresses during the raid.

“These are people who are suspected of belonging to a Salafist movement. And so, in effect, this is an open case for terrorism,” a spokesperson for Belgium’s federal public prosecutor said. The investigation has been ongoing for “several months,” the spokesperson added.

The 13 will appear before a judge in Antwerp within 48 hours, when a decision will be made on whether to proceed with the charges.

“We do not place people under arrest without reason. If they are placed under arrest, it is because there are already elements in the file that deserve to be verified or further investigated,” the spokesperson said.

File photo of Belgian Police EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

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