As Brussels Terror Probe Continues, Protests Take Right-Wing Turn

Belgian riot police fired water cannon to disperse far right-wing, anti-immigrant protesters who confronted mourners gathered in central Brussels to remember victims of the country’s worst-ever terror attack.

A group of right-wing protesters briefly overran the square Sunday, chanting football-style slogans, performing Nazi salutes, and engaging in intense verbal clashes with other mourners before riot police arrived.

A “March Against Fear” scheduled to take place Sunday was canceled because authorities said the gathering would draw resources away from the investigation into Tuesday’s attacks. But a group of mourners still gathered in a square in the city center.

 

The Belgian capital remains on edge, as several of those involved in the plot stay on the loose. But investigators appear to have made several advances in the case in recent days.

On Sunday, Brussels police carried out 13 new raids in and around the capital, detaining nine people for questioning in connection with terrorism. Five were later released, the federal prosecutor said.

The statement gave no information about the searches and did not specifically mention the Brussels attacks, which killed 28 people, as well as three suicide bombers.

Algerian arrested in Italy

In a sign of the pervasive nature of the terror network, Italian police on Sunday arrested an Algerian man suspected of making false IDs used by suspects in the Brussels attacks, as well as the Paris terror attacks in November.

State police say the man, Djamal Eddine Ouali, was arrested Saturday near the town of Salerno. Officials have said he could soon be extradited to Belgium.

On Saturday, Belgian prosecutors identified and issued an arrest warrant for a new suspect in the Brussels attacks. The federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement it issued an arrest for a man only identified as Faycal C. for “involvement in a terrorist group, terrorist killings and attempted terrorist murders.”

The statement did not confirm that Faycal C. is the third Brussels airport suicide bomber seen in airport security camera video alongside two men who blew themselves up there.  Belgian media reported that a man named Faycal Cheffou was suspected of fleeing the Brussels airport.

On Friday, Belgian prosecutors said three people were detained in a Brussels counterterrorism operation prompted by the arrest Thursday of a Frenchman in the Paris area suspected of plotting a new attack. The Belgian prosecutor’s office confirmed in a statement that Friday’s arrests were conducted in three districts of the capital – Schaerbeek, Forest and Saint-Gilles. Two of the three suspects were wounded in the leg.

One of those men has been identified as Abderamane A., who was charged Sunday with participation in a terror group, according to prosecutors.

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