Belgian police detain 5 linked to Paris attacks

BRUSSELS • Belgian police raided homes in Brussels late on Sunday and yesterday, detaining five people for questioning in an investigation linked to militant attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November, prosecutors said.

On Sunday evening, police raided a building near the fashionable Dansaert district of central Brussels, detaining two brothers and their friend.

"A thorough analysis of phone records was the basis for this house search," prosecutors said in a statement.

Another search was carried out yesterday in the Laeken area of Brussels, in the north of the city, where two more people were detained.

They were to be brought before a magistrate who will decide whether they should be kept in custody, prosecutors added.

"Regarding the results of the searches, no further details will be provided. No explosives or weapons were found," the statement added.

Following the Nov 13 attacks in Paris, the focus of the investigation turned to Belgium, where several people suspected of having aided the attackers have been arrested.

Fugitive Brussels native Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of direct involvement in the Paris attacks, is still at large.

Belgian police are still looking for Abdeslam, who is understood to have returned to the Belgian capital the day after the bloodshed. An international arrest warrant is out on the 26-year-old, who lived in Molenbeek.

A source close to the Belgian investigation said earlier on Sunday that Abdeslam made it past three police checks when friends drove him from Paris to Brussels in the hours after the coordinated gun and suicide attacks.

Belgium has so far arrested eight people on suspicion of involvement in the terror assaults, which have been claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist group.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2015, with the headline 'Belgian police detain 5 linked to Paris attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe