Two brothers have been arrested in Belgium on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said Saturday, although a search of seven houses linked to the case turned up no weapons or explosives.
Nourredine H., 33, and his brother Hamza H. were taken in for questioning Friday evening in the city of Liege in the Mons region.
“Based on provisional results from the investigation, it appears that there were plans to carry out an attack somewhere in Belgium,” the federal prosecution office said in a statement.
The brothers apparently were seeking “material” including weapons, the Belgian public broadcaster RTBF reported. Nourredine recently traveled extensively in Europe and had numerous contacts with France that raised suspicions.
A Belgian judge will decide Saturday whether the pair can be held beyond 24 hours, the Associated Press reported.
Officials said the case was not connected with the March terrorist attacks in Brussels in which 32 people were killed or recent terrorist attacks in France.
The Belgian Ministry of the Interior has found that 457 Belgians — nearly a third of them women and children — went to fight with jihadist groups at one time or another in Syria or Iraq, or intended to go there, RTBF reports.
Of the 457 people, 266 are still in Syria or Iraq and 90 are missing and were probably killed, according to Belgium’s Coordinating Body for Threat Analysis.