Paris attacks: Belgium holds 2 suspects on terrorism charges; Dutch police nab 2 near Belgian border

Belgium special force offices prepare to enter a house in Brussels on Nov 16, 2015.
Belgium special force offices prepare to enter a house in Brussels on Nov 16, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (Reuters, AFP) - Two of the seven people detained in Belgium on Saturday are being held on terrorism charges, Belgian federal prosecutors said on Monday (Nov 16), while Dutch media reported that police have arrested two people after a massive operation in south Limburg province, close to the Belgian border.

The two suspects in Belgium face charges of leading a terrorist attack and taking part in the activities of a terrorist organisation. Five of the seven also detained on Saturday were released after going before a judge.

The prosecutors also said that the search of a house in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, which was under police siege for four hours, failed to produce evidence and no arrests were made.

Video images of the raid in the Netherlands showed at least 10 marked and unmarked police vehicles at a barn near the small town of Susteren, 30 km north of Maastricht, while a police helicopter was circling overhead.

Some police officers could be seen wearing balaclavas.

An employee at a nearby car dealership, who asked not to be named, told AFP "there is a lot of police here and they have closed off the area."

National Dutch news agency ANP reported that a robot device was being used by the Dutch explosives clearance unit, while at least one of the two people arrested were instructed to remove their clothes, according to witnesses.

The Netherlands has been on high alert since Friday's attacks in Paris, but there was no immediate confirmation of any link.

Police and the public prosecutors' office were not immediately available for comment.

One of the key suspects in the terror attacks is Salah Abdeslam, 26, against whom an international arrest warrant has been issued by French police, who have described him as "dangerous". Belgian media described him as "public enemy number one".