A timeline of major al-Qaeda-linked plots foiled by authorities in Western countries and their allies over the year.
|Many European countries have been on a heightened state of alert over warnings of possible attacks [AFP]|
Ten people have been detained by police in three European countries for allegedly plotting an attack in Belgium, officials have said.
A spokesman for the country’s federal prosecutors office said in a statement that the suspects were arrested in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany on Tuesday, as part of “an inquiry into international jihadist terror”.
“In total 10 people suspected of preparing an attack in Belgium were arrested in Belgium, Holland and Germany,” the statement said.
The target of the plot had “not been determined yet” when the raids took place.
The statement added that the suspects are from Belgium, the Netherlands, Morocco and Chechnya. Most are said to live in the Belgian city of Antwerp.
The arrests followed a months-long investigation launched by authorities in Antwerp in late 2009. The investigation focused on recruiters, would-be “jihadists” and the financing of a Chechen “terrorist organisation”.
Several other people have already been arrested in Spain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia as part of the probe, according to Belgian officials.
The investigation was conducted in collaboration with several countries and Eurojust, the European Union’s judicial co-operation unit.
Europe has been on high alert for several weeks over heightened fears of attacks.
Western security officials have warned that al-Qaeda may be planning attacks in Europe similar to those that struck the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008.
In October, the United States issued a travel alert for its citizens travelling in Europe, citing the risk of potential attacks on transportation systems and tourist attractions.
Similar alerts were issued by Japan, Sweden, Britain and France.
A plot to blow up cargo planes was uncovered at the end of last month after explosives-laden parcels were found at airports in Dubai and Britain.