Authorities in Belgian have arrested 12 terror suspects as part of a major anti-terror investigation, in which they raided homes and garages in 16 municipalities, mostly around Brussels. Police say the situation required “immediate intervention” — meaning, they feared an attack may have been imminent. The news comes as fans gather to watch the Euro 2016 games.
As ABC News reports:
Across Belgium parties were being planned Saturday to watch live broadcasts of the country’s soccer team playing Ireland at the European Championships in neighboring France and some media said such events could have been the targets.
Prime Minister Charles Michel said the nation would remain “extremely vigilant, hour by hour,” but that the terror level across the nation would remain at the second-highest level, meaning a threat of an attack “is possible and likely.” Belgium has been living under such a threat level since the Nov. 22 attacks on the Brussels subway and airport which killed 32.
“It will be the case in the coming hours that we will take additional and adapted measures,” said Michel after a meeting of the nation’s security council. He refused to elaborate on the nature of the threat.
The federal prosecutor’s office said Saturday that homes and car ports were searched in 16 municipalities, mostly in and around Brussels. The statement said there were no major incidents during the raids and that no arms or explosives were found.
It said 40 people were taken for interrogation, of which 12 were arrested, and a judge will rule on their continued detention later Saturday.
“It is not over. We remain under terror alert 3, it means that something is still up,” Interior Minister Jan Jambon said. “Last night, we had a very successful action.”
The prosecutor’s statement said that “the results of the investigation necessitated an immediate intervention,” indicating a violent attack was likely planned in the near future.
The news out of Belgium comes as authorities — or, at the very least, the left and its media — in the United States appear to be further distancing the Orlando attack from Islamic terror. The news on National Public Radio this morning suggested authorities are increasingly moving toward the narrative of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen being just a generally troubled young man, possibly struggling with his own sexuality issues — who didn’t exhibit “typical” signs of “radicalization.”
This despite all of the myriad terrorist connections we’ve reported previously, including his pledge to ISIS and ISIS-related social media posts; his ties to a radical imam known for recruiting terrorists; and the views of the father who raised him.
Even granting — just for the sake of argument — that the Orlando attack is not a direct result of radical Islam taking root in our homeland, our nation has suffered an average of one significant attack per year by Islamist terrorists on US soil or diplomatic property under President Barack Obama’s watch.
Long past time to name the threat — radical Islam — and do everything in our power to quash it, before we end up in the same spot as Belgium.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]