Belgium charges 3 with trying to join Syria jihadists: reports

31st January 2016, Comments 0 comments

Belgium has charged three people with trying to go to Syria and join jihadists there, press reports said Sunday.

Police arrested four people on Saturday after raids in Jumet, near the southern city of Charleroi, on suspicion that they planned to go to either war-torn Syria or Libya.

The reports said one person had been released after questioning and that the three others, including a couple which had become radicalised recently, were charged.

Of the couple, the man aged 23 and a convert to Islam had told police he wanted to travel to Syria to do humanitarian work, the reports said.

He was charged with participating in a terrorist organisation, they added.

Officials at the federal prosecutor's office were not immediately available for comment.

Around 500 Belgians may have gone as foreign fighters to Syria, joining up with jihadists, including from the Islamic State group which claimed the November attacks on the French capital.

Belgian police have arrested 11 people in connection with the November 13 attacks in Paris which left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded as it emerges that the onslaught was largely organised and coordinated from Belgium.

Earlier this month, the authorities identified three safe houses used by key Paris suspects -- in Brussels, in Charleroi, an hour's drive south of the capital, and in Auvelais, a village near the French border.

The prosecutor's office said Saturday that the Jumet arrests were not linked to the ongoing investigation into the Paris attacks.


© 2016 AFP

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