Belgium: Raids Hit Terror Cell Planning Attacks
Suspects had reportedly returned from Syria
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2015 12:42 PM CST
Updated Jan 15, 2015 4:01 PM CST
In this image made from video, police and emergency response vehicles block a street in Verviers, eastern Belgium.   (AP Photo/RTL - TVI)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – At least two people were killed today in a Belgium raid one official describes as "jihadist-related," reports the BBC. A third person was wounded and taken into custody, reports the New York Times. The shootout took place in the city of Verviers, about 75 miles east of Brussels, and other raids were taking place elsewhere in the country. Belgian Magistrate Eric Van der Sypt said the investigation focused on “several people who we think are an operational cell—certain people who came back from Syria.” He asserted that "this group was about to commit terrorist attacks in Belgium."

Authorities raised the nation's terror alert level to three, the second-highest level. The BBC notes that some of the weapons used in last week's Charlie Hebdo attack were purchased in Belgium, but Van der Sypt said there was no confirmed link between the suspected Belgian cell and the violence in France. Earlier, prosecutors said they took a man into custody suspected of selling weapons to Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four people in a kosher market in Paris, reports Reuters.