This does not bode well for Europe in 2016.
They were charged as authorities cancelled the Belgian capital’s main fireworks display over the terror threat
Two members of a motorbike gang with alleged links to global terror networks are among the suspects arrested over a plot to launch attacks in Brussels.
Authorities said a suspected Isis terror cell were planning to attack high-profile targets in the Belgian capital over the festive season, prompting the cancellation of its main New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
Military fatigues, Airsoft replica gun equipment, Isis propaganda, phones and computers have been seized from homes of the alleged suspects in a series of police raids.
Charles Michel, the Belgian Prime Minister, would not be drawn on whether security forces had successfully thwarted an attack.
“I do not want to categorically say ‘we escaped’ or ‘we didn’t escape’…when investigations have progressed over the coming weeks we will be able to speak more certainly,” he said in a television interview.
A 30-year-old man named as Said Saouti has been charged with threatening terror attacks, recruiting people with the aim of carrying them out and participating in the activities of a terrorist group, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said.
His alleged accomplice, Mohammed Karay, 27, is accused of making terror threats and participating in the activities of a terrorist group.
The two Belgians, who deny the charges, are members of the Kamikaze Riders motorcycle club, which has been previously described by a security expert as “closely associated with jihadists active in Iraq and Syria”.
The International Business Times reports:
Founded by Belgians of Moroccan descent, gang members show off their prowess on their Japanese motorcycles, wearing the leather jackets emblazoned with samurai imagery. However, investigations have exposed links between group members and Belgium’s shadowy jihadist underworld.
In 2013 one of the club’s founders, Abdelouafi Elouassaki, was arrested after providing material support to two of his brothers, who were fighting in Syria for jihadist groups.
All three were found to have ties to now-banned group Sharia4Belgium, which radicalised hundreds of young Belgian and Dutch men to fight for jihadist groups in Syria, including Islamic State (Isis) and the al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al Nusra.