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Belgium arrests 12 suspected of plotting new attacks

Belgium arrests 12 suspected of plotting new attacks

PanARMENIAN.Net - Belgian police arrested 12 suspects in a major anti-terror operation overnight amid security alerts in Belgium and France around the Euro 2016 soccer tournament and just three months after Islamist bombers wrought carnage in Brussels, Reuters reports.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Charles Michel said the government's security council - which includes the ministers of defense, justice, home affairs and foreign affairs - would hold a meeting at 1000 GMT (1200 CET). A news conference may take place afterwards, he added.

"In connection with a criminal investigation concerning terrorism ... 40 persons were taken for questioning. Twelve among them were arrested," the Belgian federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.

"The investigating judge will decide on their possible detention later today. The investigatory results necessitated an immediate intervention. The investigation continues."

The Belgian federal prosecutor's office said no weapons or explosives had been found during the overnight searches, which also involved 152 garage lockups, Reuters says.

Flemish public broadcaster VTM said the people arrested overnight were suspected of planning an attack in Brussels this weekend during one of Belgium's soccer matches.

Belgian newspaper Le Soir said areas where fans watch matches were potential targets, as well as other crowded areas such as shopping centers and stations, citing a security source.

With the Euro 2016 soccer tournament underway in neighboring France, Europe is on high security alert. Islamist suicide bombers killed 32 people in Brussels in March following attacks in Paris last November in which 130 people died.

Investigators have found links between the Brussels and Paris attackers, some of whom were based in Belgium.

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