Belgian Prosecutors Charge 3 Following Anti-Terror Raids

Police initially arrested 12 suspects, but a judge later released nine of them.
Posted at 7:54 AM, Jun 19, 2016

Belgian prosecutors have charged three men who they believe were planning terrorist attacks.

Officials said Saturday they arrested 12 people believed to be planning the attacks. However, late Saturday nine of them were let go by a judge. The three men face charges including trying to commit murder through terrorism and involvement in a terrorist group, according to the BBC

The arrests came after police raided dozens of homes and more than 150 garages across the small country, Sky News reports.

The BBC, citing a report from Belgium public broadcaster RTBF, said suspects had been spotted near a UEFA European Championship fan zone in Brussels on Friday, just a day before the Belgium soccer team was scheduled to face the Republic of Ireland.

Officials said their searches didn't turn up any explosives or weapons, but the federal prosecutor said what they found during an investigation, "necessitated an immediate intervention." Just a few days before, Belgium media reported ISIS fighters were en route to Europe to potentially target the soccer tournament. On Monday, a man pledging allegiance to ISIS killed a French police officer and his partner. The suspect, whom police later killed, had posted the attacks on Facebook and also threatened the soccer tournament.

Fewer than two weeks ago, Ukrainian officials said they thwarted terrorist attacks planned around France during the UEFA European Championship.

Belgium is on high alert following the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels. The bombings of the Brussels Airport and a metro station killed more than 30 people.

This video includes clips from France 24RTSky NewsNHK and Security Service of Ukraine and images from Getty Images.