Euro 2016 terror attack 'foiled': three charged

Belgian fans celebrate, as Belgium played their Euro 2016 Group E match against Ireland in Bordeaux, France. Photo / AP
Belgian fans celebrate, as Belgium played their Euro 2016 Group E match against Ireland in Bordeaux, France. Photo / AP

Belgian prosecutors have charged three men with terror offences following raids that took place amid heightened security in Belgium and France due to the Euro 2016 football tournament.

Three months after Islamist bombers killed 32 people in Brussels, police searched dozens of houses across the country and arrested 12 people the day before Belgium's Euro 2016 game against Ireland today which Belgium won.

Nine of them were released after questioning but three Belgian nationals identified as 27-year-old Samir C, 40-year-old Moustapha B, and 29-year-old Jawad B, were charged with "having attempted to commit a terrorist murder and for participation in the activities of a terrorist group", the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Some media reports said the suspects had planned attacks against fans watching the Euro 2016 games in Brussels, and had possibly been targeting the Belgium vs Ireland match.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel chaired a meeting of the Government's security council, which includes the ministers of defence, foreign affairs, home affairs and justice, after the raids and said soccer-related events would go on as planned with extra security measures.

"We want to continue living normally," Michel told a news conference. "The situation is under control."

He added: "We are extremely vigilant, we are monitoring the situation hour by hour and we will continue with determination the fight against extremism, radicalisation and terrorism".

No weapons or explosives were found during the overnight searches, which also involved 152 garage lockups. Flemish public broadcaster VTM said the people arrested were suspected of planning an attack in Brussels during one of Belgium's matches.

Areas where fans watch matches in Brussels were potential targets, as well as other crowded areas such as shopping centres and stations, Belgian media reported.

With the Euro 2016 soccer tournament underway in neighbouring France, Europe is on high security alert.

March's deadly attacks by Islamist suicide bombers in Brussels followed attacks in Paris last November in which 130 people died. Investigators have found links between the Brussels and Paris attackers, some of whom were based in Belgium.

- Reuters, AAP

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 06 Dec 2016 07:44:53 Processing Time: 486ms